If you can afford to hire an editor or proofreader before you hit the “Publish” button—and most bloggers and aspiring authors can’t—use check list to determine if each of your posts is finished and ready to be sent off into cyberspace for your fans to read. The checklist doesn’t provide a foolproof methodology, but it reduces about 95 percent of the errors you would have otherwise.
And do consider at some point hiring an editor—especially for your finished manuscript. You will need a developmental editor and a line editor plus a proofreader. I offer these services when the time comes, although some bloggers use editors or proofreaders on a regular basis for all their posts.
Finished Work Check List
Prior to sending out a post, read it and then ask yourself the following questions.
- What promises did I intent to make to the reader?
- Did I fulfill those promises?
- Did I offer benefit or value?
- Can I tell describe what this piece is about in less then 50 words, or better yet, in 156 characters (which is what the WP SEO by Yoast plugin asks you to do)?
If you can’t say what your piece is about in 15-50 words or 156 characters, what you have written probably isn’t well focused. If you haven’t fulfilled your promises to the reader—such as offered them solutions or benefits, your post has no purpose. While this holds especially true for nonfiction, even fiction and memoir can (and should) offer value to the reader in ever post.
To improve your writing one-hundred fold, do these two steps:
- Search out every passive verb in your piece and change it to an active verb, or change the sentence construction to allow for an active verb and stronger sentence structure.
- Tighten each sentence by cutting out unnecessary words.
If you don’t understand passive verbs, get a good grammar book or look on Google. This one lesson will save you tons of editing fees with a good editor. (If passive sentences remain in your work, it remains flat and uninteresting. Strong writing equates to writing that employs active sentences.)
Next, ask yourself these 9 questions:
- Have I said what I meant to say?
- Have I written as concisely as possible?
- Have I written as simply as possible?
- Can every reader understand the terminology I have used?
- Have a used the style appropriate for my blogged book?
- Is the post short or long enough?
- Are all the names spelled correctly?
- Is my first paragraph as strong as my last paragraph?
- Is the post formatted correctly?
To catch any mistakes or typos, do the following 3 things:
- Read it aloud to find errors you might miss when proofreading or editing on the hard copy or on the computer screen.
- Let it sit for a few hours or a day (if you can), and then reread it to help you edit with more perspective.
- Run the spell check function.
Finally, do these two additional steps:
- Read the piece with a critical eye—the eye of someone really looking for errors and problems with the piece.
- Ask someone else to read your piece.
If you go through all 20 points on this check list, you’ll publish much more “finished” work than you would if you didn’t bother to take the time to do so.
Everyone Makes Mistakes
Here’s one last pointer:
- Forgive yourself when you find a mistake in the work you’ve turned in or published.
It’s not the end of the world. You might still gain a few followers, get a comment on your post, land the literary agent, or get the publishing contract. We all make mistakes. Most of us still succeed, and so will you.
Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici | Freedigitalphotos.net