5 Ways to Self-Edit Your Blog Post

Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a blog tips post. As fun as writing is, there is one thing that’s not so fun: The English language. As writers, though, writing and grammar go hand in hand. Usage of the wrong word or incorrect homophone use can change the meaning of a sentence or an entire poem! Accept/Except are different words with different meanings. Misuse them, and it changes everything. The same with Ad/Add, To/Two/Too, There/Their/They’re. If you are like me, you can’t afford to have an editor to proofread every blog post, but there are free resources we can use to help. Not only can you use these programs to clean up your blog, but you can use them to edit typos on your website or revise a finished manuscript.

1. Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is a powerful tool the more we learn to use it. Writers can use Word to create book covers, format books for print and so much more. My tip here is to draft your post in Microsoft Word before posting to the WordPress editor. Word will alert you to basic misspellings or grammatical errors as you are writing. You will notice spelling errors by the red wiggly lines and grammatical errors by the blue wiggly lines.

But Word has a bad reputation for not giving the right corrections…

2. Grammarly

Once you’ve written your post in a Word Document, you can then copy and paste it into the Grammarly editor to double-check for what Word may have missed. Grammarly is a software program that corrects spelling, detects plagiarism, and checks against over 250 grammar rules. There is a free version, but I recommend the premium version for more advanced features. Premium will alert you to more advanced grammatical errors to include overused words or misused words. My school gave us a free premium version of Grammarly, and I love it! There is such a significant difference between the free and paid version. The free version works fine, though and I use both.

3. ProWriting Aid

After you have made corrections in Grammarly, you can copy and paste the post into ProWriting Aid as a final run-through. ProWriting Aid is such an excellent program! Like Word and Grammarly, the program is another self-editing tool. ProWriting Aid will pick up even more errors and recommend changes. It also has a plagiarism detection tool for premium users. What I love about PWA is they are not stingy with the free version. The free version checks for repeats, structure, readability, fiction, and consistency. Yes, I said fiction! If you are using it to revise a novel, it will help track pacing and dialogue use.

4. Hemingway Editor

 I can’t say too much about Hemingway because I just started using it and I don’t use it often. The program is okay, and it’s not my favorite, but it’s still an excellent program to use to self-edit. Hemingway does an excellent job at detecting wordy sentences, and overused adverbs. While I prefer the other two programs, Hemingway is still a valuable tool (mainly when used with one of the other applications).

5. Save Post as Draft and Preview as Final Proofread

After you have run your post through Word, Grammarly, ProWriting Aid, Hemingway (or all four) proofreading the post is another great way to self-edit your post. Once I have drafted a post, I save it as a draft and then preview it on the computer and my phone. I find lots of typos this way. Sometimes reading over the post in this way helps to catch even more errors before clicking the publish button.

None of these programs will replace a human editor. ProWriting Aid once tried to correct the word “to” for “two,” but I did not mean the number two. I intended to write “to.” But at least you know you’ve cleaned up the basics enough to ensure your post is clear and reads the way you intended. When I publish blog posts, these are some programs I used to proofread my work and now, so can you. It will take more time, but it’s time well spent.


Want more tips? Be sure to check out the Blog Tips Page! Click Here.

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Self-Publishing – Laying Bricks Ep 3: Cutting The Excess

Laying Bricks(1)

When applying Mortar, sometimes it’s just too much and you need to cut the excess. When you get your script back, you’ll need to decide what to keep and what to ignore.

Cutting The Bricks

book-through-spectacles-unsplash

“A good book needs a good edit: nothing screams ‘amateur’ louder than a glaring spelling mistake or improper punctuation. One criticism leveled at self-published literature is that the quality isn’t up to the standard set by the traditional trade, where editorial services are of precious significance. The constructive input of a skilled editor is certainly valuable; a structural overhaul – or even just a light copy edit – can radically transform a novel, elevating it from the ordinary to the extraordinary. In fact, in a recent poll of publishers and their authors, authors said that the number one thing they wanted their publisher to contribute was ‘discoverability’ i.e.: marketing. The publishers however, all thought that their most important contribution was editorial input.”

Editing, like feedback from critiques and beta reads, is part of the revision process and encourages more rewrites. After the feedback from your readers you’ll need to revise. Then, you’ll need to get your manuscript edited. Finally, you’ll want to take it through another revision, adding the changes suggested by your editor (or some of them).

  • First Draft
  • Beta Readers / Critique
  • Revision Stage One
  • Revision Stage Two
  • Edit
  • Revision Stage Three
  • Proofread

You can really have as many revisions as your heart desires. Not all bricks will suffice at their original size. Most walls require smaller bricks at their ends. Before cutting a script, it helps to place it in the hands of someone with the credentials to absorb the shock of the blow. There are many forms of the edit but don’t worry, you may not need them all. Choose the brick chisel you need to cut your brick:

  • Line Editor
  • Copy Editor
  • Developmental Editor
  • Proofreader

Let’s get help from The Helpful Writer to define these:

Copy

The copy editor specializes in grammar, punctualization, fact-checking, spelling, and formatting. The Copy Editor is used most often in journalism publications, but utilized by some smaller publishers.

Line

Also known as a Copy/Content Editor, often employed by the small – medium publishers, and self-published authors. They do it all – grammar, fact-checking, spelling, formatting, plot, sentences, characterization, setting, punctualization, and voice. They go through every inch of an MS, word by word, line by line.

(EC: Go into the edit with the mind that you’ll have to utterly destroy your favorite parts. Truth is, your favorite part isn’t necessarily the reader’s favorite and we’ve already established the fact that giving readers what they want is important).

Developmental

Used by big publishing houses, and often ghost writers. You can find a few freelancing DEs. They are best with non-fiction writing, but can be hired by fiction writers. Their primary function is to ensure a book moves in a forward motion, watching plot and characterization. Think writing coach.

Proofreader

Many get a proofreader and an editor confused. A proofreader is the one who goes over your MS after an editor. They look for the glaring mistakes missed, generally in punctuation, spelling, and formatting. They look for the glaring mistakes that may have been missed during edits.

What if I want to Keep Parts?

That’s OK, as long as you keep in mind that you’re writing for more than just yourself and what you find profound may not resonate with your readers if it’s not presented well. For instance, I’m a big advocate for writing with purpose. I believe everyone has a mission, a purpose, a calling if you will and that everyone, as a consequence, has a responsibility to live up to this purpose. That said, when deciding what changes to make for me personally, it’s important that the vision is not lost in the revision. There are some parts of a story I will not sacrifice.

However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t heed the call of feedback that makes sense. It doesn’t have to come wrapped in fancy wrapping paper with a bow, some advice just makes sense. Its logical. The wisdom in what to change in your script is to heed logical advice while learning how to incorporate your passion into a story people will enjoy. As stated in Episode One, at the end of the day good stories sell. Period. Market and promote all you want. If its not a good story, it won’t sell. So while living up to your purpose, keep in mind that no one likes to be preached to. By preach I mean anything that may come across as preachy whether it’s of a religious nature or not. Always remember that there’s a way to embed messages into stories. In short, think like a wise man, but communicate in the language of the people.

The final stage of the revision process is the proofread. Once you got your bricks in place, you’ll want to give it a once over. Are the bricks straight or crooked? Is mortar oozing from all sides? Do you need to cut out portions of the brick itself?

Proofreading is done to look for those final errors that slipped through the cracks. Proofreaders examine your script carefully to find and correct typographical errors and mistakes in grammar, style, and spelling missed during the edit. Proofreading should be done after the edit and is the final stage of the revision process. In this way, you can ensure a polished manuscript before moving onto other fun stuff.

All excess mortar is squeezed out, and the joint is removed by scraping it off with the proofread and we’re ready to move on.

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Next– Brick Pathway

Next, we’ll talk about moving on from revisions with a manuscript that is ready to be seriously read. Now that you’ve scraped off excess mortar, what’s next in our brick laying process? Create a welcoming entrance to your book by laying a brick pathway. We’ll discover what that is next week. Stay tuned.

Be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter for more tips, updates on my upcoming projects, free excerpt chapters and articles not yet published to this blog, book promotions, and more.

Disclaimer. Everything I share on Self-Publishing is always based on my own experience and research because I believe you can’t advise people on stuff you haven’t really tried. It’s just best if you’ve walked those shoes. So, that said I do not profess to be an expert. There are too many of them out there for you to glean from. Now, should you find information on this blog useful? Whoo hoo! Go for it.

Missed the first two episodes?

Laying Bricks Ep 1: Guide The Bricks

(About Focusing on the Story)

Laying Bricks Ep 2: Mortar

(About the Revision)

Hot PBS Self-Publishing Topics to Date:


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman writer who dreams of taking part in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parents struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters and the pending book cover release for this project, be sure to follow this blog and to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.