Whether you are a writer or editor, you will want to achieve the best you can with your content. Take note of this list of seven pointers to be sure you are following the best practices when editing your articles.
1. Listen to your written word
There is software available that can speak your writing to you. Alternatively, you could always read the item aloud to yourself, or get a friend to read it to you.
I would recommend the use of software like ReaderPal Lite if you do not like to read out loud, or would rather listen to a voice other than your own. With this software, you can play it back to yourself in privacy using headphones. It will help you see any errors that need to be changed.
2. Check for repetitive words
Use a thesaurus to avoid duplication of words, it can find synonyms, other words that have the same meaning to replace the original word.
When using synonyms think about your target audience’s reading level so as not to use overly distracting words! Hopefully the message they receive is in the whole of your writing, not just individual words.
3. Use a dictionary.
Make sure you understand fully the real meaning of the words you are to use. It is easy to think you know it all.
Go through your writing and identify words of meaning. Look them up in a dictionary and make sure the usage is appropriate for your article.
4. Passive voice and active voice check
Passive voice speaks in the past tense and is seen as a weak form of writing by many. Here is an example:
Martin ate six sausages at dinner. (active)
At dinner, six sausages were eaten by Martin. (passive)
Change your passive writing style to an active writing style.
5. Gender oriented language
Avoid gender oriented language. Using he or she in articles is no longer appropriate because it is not all-inclusive like gender neutral language.
Try and be gender neutral. Here is an example: the policeman becomes the police officer; the actress becomes the actor.
6. Word counts
Reducing your article to the minimum words necessary is condensing. Condensing sentences can improve readability and keep the readers’ attention. Take out “fluffy” words.
Here is an example: I actually agree, he was right that time. – I agree, he was right that time.
The main point of an article is that it gets read, unnecessary wording can bore the reader, so don’t do it.
Finish your edit by putting your article through some of the grammar and spell checking software that is available. Correct, modify and condense it your content with the AtomicWriter, a tool we obsessively use for every article to proofread each piece and drive content performance.
As a final word, there is a great quote attributed to several writers: “there’s no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting.”