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.
“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.
I’ve read (and witnessed) how writing one long-form piece of content, for example in the shape of an e-book, can be a source of fresh content for a long time. In gardening terms, you’re propagating your content.
It’s like taking box clippings (late September is supposed to be a good time for this, or so I was told by “Gardener’s World”) and turning them into new plantlets. This typically takes a bit of time and care, but it’s easier – and cheaper – than starting from scratch.
Which begs a question from anyone who takes box clippings or other cuttings.
Nursery in Ruyigi | Trees for the Future | Click to view on Flickr
Where is your content nursery?
In content creation (or content curation, whichever you like best) you have a spot where you gather any potentially useful ideas and articles that gave you these ideas. It may be the inside of your head (if you have a reliable brain), a notebook, or even a batch of drafts in your blog itself.
You then tend these ideas: you take another look at them, and select the ones that seem strong enough to take root with a bit of help. Water them, feed them, make sure they get their share of sunlight…
Tips for creating, curating, or editing
As luck would have it, Stefanie Flaxman just published a useful post on Copyblogger for editing content in which she distinguishes three stages:
- Pre-revision rituals. All of these put a psychological distance between you, the author, and your content.
- Comprehensive cutting and pasting. This is where you get systematic about editing: using several editing sittings if necessary, focusing on your goal and on how you’re helping your audience, eliminating anything confusing… And doing it again, until there is no single paragraph or sentence you can find fault with.
- Razor-sharp proofreading. This means you look at your content from the viewpoint of someone who’s never seen your content before (your audience).
If you’d like to read the entire post, here it is – enjoy your editing process!
And in case you’re wondering when I started my first content gardening post…