If you’re like me, you get really excited about finishing something you’ve set out to write. It doesn’t matter if it’s 500 words or 90,000, I am really bad about this: I get so excited about finishing the project that I immediately want to send it out into the world. I am riding high on writer’s adrenaline, and in that state of mind, everything I’ve written feels amazing, and ready to publish.
A couple years ago I finished a novel I’d been working on for sometime. It’d been written in a couple big chunks mostly, several months apart. There were inconsistencies and plot holes and characters that needed to be fleshed out more and so on and so on. But that didn’t matter. I was riding high and had finally finished and I was pumped about it. I had been anticipating having a completed novel I could query…
It got rejected, of course.
A year and a half later, and I am finding I still have a lot of work I need to do on that novel. It really needs a completely re-typed fourth draft, which I will get to once I’ve finished another novel I am writing.
I have found that this too-eager tendency goes with my blogging as well. There have been more times than I’d like to admit that I’ve hit “Publish” and then read over what I posted on my blog and had to go back and make several changes, because I was too eager and too impatient.
Too Easy to Publish?
I read recently that people get themselves in a lot more trouble these days, due to Facebook and email. You can write hate-mail or angry rants or insults or whatever. You can spew all your angry thoughts and then hit send without thinking it through. People have lost jobs and probably countless relationships as a result of word vomiting, and then promptly hitting send.
How many readers might we lose by doing the same?
The truth is there are a lot of crappy blogs with spelling errors galore, and even ambiguous points to the posts themselves. You may be able to get by with it, get some hits, some likes, and some new follows based off your ideas. But I bet you will get more if it’s higher quality.
In addition, there are heaps of crappy books out there that got word vomited, slapped with a stock-photo cover and a gradient effect on the font, and then put out there on Amazon too early. They aren’t the ones selling like crazy. They might get some decent sales, if they’re lucky. But why settle for that, when you can write quality and get more sales?
People have already got a million reasons not to read your stuff. Let’s be real. There is more written content accessible than ever before in the history of the world.
You don’t want your writing, whether it is a quick blog or an epic novel, to go unread simply because you didn’t take the time to edit it and make it the best it could be. There are a lot of factors that you don’t have control over when it comes to readership. But the one you can control is the quality of your content.
A few tips before you hit “Publish”
These are going to be specifically about blogs. Many of the same principles apply to longer works, but there is a lot more to them.
- Save it as a draft and Set It Aside — This may just be an hour or two. Finish the first draft, and then, close your laptop. Go for a walk or do yard work or whatever. Give your mind a break from whatever it is you’ve been writing.
- Look at it again with Fresh Eyes — Editing immediately will likely leave your writing still replete with errors. When we look at something closely for a while, we tend not to have an eye for structural errors or lack of continuity. Now that you’ve had your break, go ahead and take a look at it again. As you are going, look for continuity errors and structural flaws. Is your point clear and focused in your blog? Do you need to cut some rambling?
- Print It Out and edit again, now for spelling and grammar — I have found that I notice even more problems when I print things out and edit with a red pen. Spelling errors seem to stand out more off-screen. Then go back into your word processor and fix them.
- Read it over One More Time — Is it really ready now?
- Alright, Hit “Publish” — Now that you have taken a break and taken your time editing thoroughly, you are ready to put your work out there.
If you rush less, you will produce far better work that makes a clearer point without needless spelling and grammatical errors. Your readers will more easily understand what you have to say, resulting in more likes, follows, and hits on your blog.
And, like I said, the same principles apply to your longer work. Don’t rush the process. It will be worth the wait when more people read the finished project.
Don’t cheat yourself with the things you can control.
Now quit reading blogs and get writing! Best of luck!