Most writers, professional or not, know the first draft of anything isn’t fit for public consumption. It needs to be looked over, redone, looked over again, and so on and so forth. Besides, the first draft is just where you’re getting all your ideas together.
But a friend who is just getting started on their blog asked me the other day: how many drafts do you do before you know you’re done? It got me thinking…is there really a number? Can you really say “well I’ve hit five drafts so I’m done now!” or is it a more arbitrary “feeling” you get before you hit the publish button?
Going Too Long
Many writers have been the victim of the blog post that just won’t die – you edit and edit and edit but it just never seems like it’s right. You even do the right thing and hand it off to a friend or colleague but even when they make a pass at it you find things you want to change. It seems like every time you glance at the thing you want to change it.
This is the opposite problem than listed above. Instead of wanting to throw it up on the blog as soon as you can to let the world see it, you get paranoid about any little error someone might catch. You’re so caught up in the minute details that the blog post never ends up on your site for people to actually see, much less pick apart.
This probably can even bleed into any of your other writings. Emails, social media posts, even Google searches take twice as long because you’re worried of someone noticing a mistake. Eventually you get where hitting “send” or “publish” fills you with impending doom. I’ve been there and had to teach myself to just stop editing at some point and get it out in the world.
Finding the Middle Ground
So you don’t want to hit send right after you type “The End” on your blog post nor do you want to let the post languish in editing hell forever. How are you supposed to know when to actually post the thing?
The trick is to finding a middle ground. You’ll need at least a second draft to clear up spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and other goofs you spot. The third draft is for clarity, to make sure everyone knows what you mean and it’s not total gobbledygook. Another pass to spot any further errors and you should be ok…unless it just doesn’t “feel” right!
Remember, it will never be perfect because that’s impossible. Nobody will ever give you the “Most Perfect Blog” award and lift you on their shoulders. You can definitely have an amazing post that makes your readers nod in approval and continue to read your site, though, and that’s what you’re aiming for anyway.
How many drafts do you typically go through before posting a blog post?
I usually write my post in word first. Then just past to wordpress when ready. So most of the time just one draft.