Want to immediately improve your writing?
It’s not a matter of studying a specific technique, learning every (outdated) grammar rule, or agonizing over every word as you create.
It’s all about becoming a ferocious self-editor.
Great Results Come in the Editing—Not the Writing
Quality matters, regardless what you’re writing. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your blog posts require less editing than your book manuscript.
But your first draft might make you cringe.
Maybe you’ve overdone something or under-explained something else. Or you’ve inadvertently relied on clichés or become redundant .
Your first draft clearly isn’t ready to be shopped to agents or publishers. And it might not be ready to be published post by post as a blogged book either. But don’t let that tempt you to give up on becoming an author.
No one’s first draft is perfect. In fact, Hemingway has been quoted, “The first draft of anything is sh*t.”
What we view as great writing is really great editing. So, to improve your writing, learn to rigorously edit and revise—mercilessly where necessary.
Tips for Ferociously Editing Your Blog
1. Keep Writing and Revising Separate
I start every day’s writing session by rewriting what I wrote the day before. I don’t just fix typos. This is a heavy edit where I reshape the material.
But when writing my first draft, it’s rough. I take off my perfectionist cap and tell my inner critic to shut up. I aim to get my point across.
Separate your writing from your editing.
2. Stay Flexible
However great your outline, you may find you need to move things around.
Make it flow. Remove tangents and non-essentials.
3. Omit Needless Words
Make every word justify its place.
Don’t worry if your work ends up on the short side. Never pad just for the sake of word count.
4. Avoid Passive Construction
Passive voice puts the object first in a sentence.
Passive: The ball was kicked by John.
Active: John kicked the ball.
Active voice is direct and more dynamic.
Avoid trying to sound formal or more educated. Better to keep your sentences powerful and active.
5. Use Jargon Sparingly
Your blog post might require certain specialized terms.
But avoid jargon where you can.
When you do need a technical term, define it.
6. Cut Excessive Adjectives and Adverbs
Such words can enhance your prose, but most writers over-use them and bog down their blog posts and manuscripts.
Better to write strong nouns and verbs.
7. Make Your Blog Easier to Read
Nonfiction readers expect short paragraphs, chapters broken into subsections, and handy features like pull-quotes, side bars, and boxes.
Use those in your blog posts, too. Subheads, white space, and images make your text easier to read.
Radically Improve Your Writing Today
Don’t wait until you’ve finished your full first draft to begin editing.
Attack your posts and manuscript, as well as the rewriting and repairing of your articles, with a vengeance. Then watch your ability—and confidence—soar.
Do you ferociously edit your blog posts and blogged-book manuscript? Tell me in a comment below, and please share this article with your blogging network.
About the Author
Author of nearly 200 books with sales of over 70 million copies, including the best-selling Left Behind series, Jerry B. Jenkins is former vice president for publishing and former chairman of the board of trustees for the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.
Jerry’s writing has appeared in Time, Reader’s Digest, Parade, Guideposts, and dozens of Christian periodicals. Twenty-one of his books have reached The New York Times bestseller list (seven debuting number one).
Jerry owns the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, through which he trains writers online at JerryJenkins.com.