Justin recently wrote a post about proofreading tool After the Deadline. True enough, it makes sense to check your draft for misspellings, and mistakes in grammar and punctuation before hitting the publish button. If you’re using web markup, it also makes sense to check the draft for any unclosed or misplaced tags.
But aside from these simple mistakes, it takes more time to actually check a post if it does make sense. First, you have to check if your argument is reasonable. Then, you have to check if you got your facts straight. Then you need to check if your sources are valid, and if your post does point to the original (or at least the best quality) source of information. And there’s also a host of other things I’d like to check before hitting publish. Here would be a short checklist.
- Check spelling.
- Check grammar.
- Check for clarity. I like using precise language. For instance, “hard” can mean many things. So I prefer to use “difficult.”
- Check for conciseness. Usually, during proofreading I remove unnecessary sentences and even paragraphs.
- Check for readability. I like to divide my posts into easily-digestible paragraphs. Better yet, I use headings, for easier scanning.
- I do a logic check. Does my reasoning really make sense? Sometimes I rearrange paragraphs for better buildup.
- Check categories and tags.
- Check the site URL. With the many blogs I write on, I might be writing on the wrong site!
- Preview the post to see how it looks like as a finished product.
I often find myself reading and rereading a draft before finally publishing. If it’s a feature post, proofreading often takes about 150% to 200% of the time I spent drafting the actual thing (or even longer). If it’s a news post, I’m more concerned with the timeliness of the article, so the time spent editing could be significantly shorter.
I think I may be too much of a perfectionist that sometimes i even scrap a draft if I think it won’t cut the grade in terms of quality and applicability to a blog. Sometimes I decide to move the draft to another site altogether, if my writing and editing results in straying away from the original intent or idea.
Either that, or perhaps I’m afraid of criticism.
My point here is that for me, I think readers deserve shorter, clearer blog posts that make an impact, rather than a post that just rambles and rambles and isn’t even clear on what the author wants to say. It’s more difficult to edit than write. But with more effort put into editing a post, it makes it easier for your readers to understand what you want to say, and this makes for better writing.
How long does it take for you to edit and proofread a blog post?