9 best practices that can drive your editing process, part I

blake morrison

This is one of the topics I haven’t written about on the blog before and finally that time came. I know how it is hard to edit your own writing and I will share what in my experience has brought me the most effectiveness in this area.  This post will be divided in two parts and I hope it will help you in your editing process as well.

One of the first things I noticed, depending on your genre of writing and worth keeping in mind is that:

  • Editing of non-fiction writing is far different from editing fiction writing – there are more factors involved that constitutes making a good story, character than in developing an instructional texts, for example.
  • When you are writing an e-book, that requires different format and ‘packaging’ in comparing to your shorter versions you write for an online community like blog posts.
  • A paper copy of your book is very hard to correct (actually once it goes in printing that’s about it) than comparing to a digital version of your work.
  • Your final version of the manuscript that goes to agents, publishers or to be used as reference in some way (like student books) requires that you give all you’ve got to make it understandable and comprehensive as much as possible.

Now, when you spend years in some form of writing, your editing approach evolves as much as your writing. How your writing improves, somehow your need for editing is adapting – still, I always aim to stay true to myself in my communication. That’s the core rule.

Nevertheless, there are few effective tricks that help me become more productive in my editing:

1. Reading out loud.

Only by reading your writing out loud you can get the feel how it gets perceived by the reader. You notice the rhythm and fluency of your words. It can help you immensely.

To carefully edit, read it out loud a few times, and then move on.

2.Let it ‘marinate’ over night.

It gives you an opportunity to observe your writing from fresh and clear perspective; it helps you restore your inspiration and tap into your own creativity – than any revision goes smoothly and you are able to express your thoughts more eloquently.

3. Edit in intervals.

When you read your writing, a lot of things might bug you at the same time: poor grammar, repeating phrases, mushy sentences…When you edit, try to focus on only one thing at the time. For example:

The first time, go through content, cohesion and rhythm of your writing. Are there any ideas that are disconnected, gaps of information, ext? Reading out loud helps you find these omissions. Or even better –  read the piece out loud to someone unfamiliar with the subject and listen to where they start asking questions or looking for clarity. That means you haven’t explained something well enough, and requires further elaboration.

The second time pay attention to your structure and with what impression leaves you the piece as a whole when read? Is there anything you need to emphasize? Does the format supports the purpose of your writing? Always format accordingly to your requirements to show your professionalism. It’s easier for readers to digest information presented and editors prefer industry-standard formatting.

The third time you edit, focus on details, typos and grammar. Probably  you’ve already found some of these by reading your work twice before. Some tips you can use here include:

– use action verbs instead of passive ones;

– avoid using grammar expletives;

– don’t dwell too much on punctuation rules.

Do you know your 5 most frequent words you use in your writing? Overuse of certain words can make your writing repetitive, boring, uninviting. Don’t be afraid to use different words especially in fiction like slang, words from different languages and less used phrases. I like to use slang or terms of natural phenomenon when I want to accentuate a situation or a character. It can spice up your writing and make it more interesting. Can that confuse your reader? Maybe, but look at it like you are offering your reader an opportunity to learn something new. A tiny dash of mysteriousness in your writing can do no harm – on the contrary – it gives special charm and flavor to your piece.

In the next part we’ll talk more about how to silent that inner critique that simply sabotages our editing productivity.

How does your editing process look like?


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Business in Rhyme is looking for blog guests!

Many of you who have been following this blog for some time know that I’ve always intended to form a community around ideas that poetry as an art form has to offer much more than it is usually implied. For almost a year I’ve been on a quest to explore all benefits that writing and poetry has to bring into our lives. And a lot has been said and written. But I think it’s time we hear (read) some other voices and opinions too.

So this is official invitation to all bloggers to become a guest blogger on Business in Rhyme. This will give you the opportunity to show your work and share your opinions.

The first topic we could explore is how poetry improved your life and why do you write poetry? You could also include crucial poems that you like or that you wrote…Possibilities are endless.I know it might not be easy for some of you to share your vulnerability and intimate times of your lives, but think how you might help someone, inspire and encourage to embrace their feelings …  I’m doing this on the blog for the first time and I have no idea if any of you are interested, but since Business in Rhyme has a growing following of a roughly 5000 people on social media, it is a chance for you to show your work and increase readership.

If you would like to share your experience and inspire others to start/continue writing poetry, you can read the general guidance given in the header menu.

Thank you in advance for your contribution.

Are you losing readership? Probably you are making one of these 3 mistakes

NadineGordimer

When I was younger, I didn’t like very much to read. I liked books and I liked to collect them, but because of the nature of my studies and later my work, I was already so much time “wrapped” in books (researching specialized information) that I didn’t find any interest in spending my free time reading, again. 🙂 So, poetry and prose were not much on my reading menu. But while reading, what I liked the most is that I can search for targeted information whenever I need it and access it any time.

Now, with time my needs and wants changed. I do enjoy reading more poetry and prose. I find it relaxing and comforting. It enhances my writing, my creativity, my way of thinking and self-confidence, my knowledge of languages…the benefits are numerous. I still do search for certain information, relating to skills and knowledge I’m interest in, but the existence of Internet in last 20 years has changed that for us in many ways.

So, one of the reasons to see a decline in your reading stats might be:

1.You don’t know who are you writing for.

You need to know your audience; what are their needs and wants, because it changes with time and evolves. As a writer you need to be able to sense their reading pulse and offer types of information that will attract and intrigue them. Writing also means fostering a community, sharing mutual insights and experiences. This is the first thing that needs to be cleared up, and it will undoubtedly improve your writing too.

2. You don’t recognize the purpose of your writing.

Here, I mean you do need to have clearly defined  what kind of information you are offering; As I said, people do like targeted information, especially if you are a non-fiction writer. As a fiction writer do you have recognizable style, writing voice that your readers can relate to.

3. Your writing is more like ‘a stale pond’ instead of a ‘running river’.

What I mean is that do you offer fresh content on regular basis? Is your content related to contemporary topics and events that people are genuinely interested in?

Do you blindly follow one literary style or do you like to experiment? The point is even in the actual action of writing we do need to be somehow innovative and creative. You like haikus? Great! Next time try to write a longer story. Maybe you could share how actually you like writing short forms. Why? What is there that excites you? Believe it or not, your readers want to read that stuff as well. How do you create, what invigorates you. Share small pieces of you in new, affirmative ways and watch your audience grow.

Do you have any tips and tricks on attracting more readers? Please share in the comments below 🙂


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What can you expect on “Business in Rhyme” in 2016

Probably most you remember that a couple of weeks ago I ran a poll about future topics you would like to see more featured on this blog.

Creativity, writing and entrepreneurship were the leading topics with the most votes, which is also in alignment with most read/liked posts in the past year. So here is what I intend to do:

  • once a week (at least) there will be a creativity exercise, mostly based on writing and poetry techniques – but not as a typical prompts but rather in more engaging ways;
  • there will be more posts exploring the possibility of how you can turn your writing and creativity into a viable business;
  • also I would like to go beyond the value of poetry for business, but how it can help us in different areas of life  – something like this post.

My general intention with this blog is to really make a space and a community where we can all share our experiences and also learn in an engaging and fun process – so there will be some other novelties as well (I don’t want to reveal everything at once 😉 )

I also want to thank you all for an amazing ongoing support for this blog and my recently published poetry – it simply makes this worth while and it’s an encouragement to make it even better and more resourceful.

Looking forward to get “busy in rhyme” with all of you here!

Maja