Blogging impressions: content editing to content creation

The odd thing about blogging is it’s so easy. In a way. You just start typing along and words come out. They’re not always the best words, though, in the best order, so editing is a big part if you’re critical of your own writing.

Content editing

Edit or create

“After the edit” | Laura Ritchie on Flickr

So what’s it like editing other people’s texts? I’ve done so for a while now and it’s a nice way to make a living, if you don’t mind putting the dots onto other people’s i’s. But there’s a risk. There always is.

Levels of editing

  1. There is what I would call ‘ultralight editing’, where you basically check if the content creator hasn’t made any spelling errors or left in obvious typos. You don’t really need to know anything about the subject matter for this kind of editing. Knowing your words (and grammar) is enough.
  2. One step beyond is adding a summary and subheaders. You don’t need to know a lot about the subject matter, but you need to understand the tekst well enough to summarize it in a meaningful way.
  3. Another step and you enter potentially hazardous terrain. This is where you start questioning the way the text ‘works’ internally. Does B really follow from A? Or is the tekst unclear in any way? Can you resolve the matter yourself, or do you send a marked-up version to the content creator for revision?

How you  deal with ambiguities in texts depends on several things:

  • Your professional experience as a creator or editor of texts
  • Standard procedures for handling content
  • Your understanding of the subject matter.

If you’re comfortable with the editing process and you’ve a good understanding of ‘living’ texts, standard procedures are not too strict, and you understand the subject matter to a great extent, chances are you’ll shift from editing someone else’s text into creating a hybrid text which contains paragraphs you’ve hardly had to touch as well as heavily revised – possibly re-written – parts.

Once you start combining re-writing paragraphs with juggling those paragraphs around because the text ‘demands’ it you reach a point where you enter creation country…

Content creation

This is probably where you prefer to get a few interesting facts and create a piece of content around them, rather than having someone else doing your thinking for you.

Your facts could come from anywhere. They might not even be facts, but random thoughts secreted by your own brain. For a business website, that last category won’t be acceptable. For your personal blog, it’s not really a problem. Which is just as well 🙂

Apologies for any Dutch-looking words in this post. It’s a computer issue (when is it any different?).

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