Editing: When to Do It

The following post is from James of Brooks Web Services:

Source: the Italian voice

You are writing an important article that needs to be absolutely perfect. You know it needs to be edited and proofread until it is totally free of mistakes, but how exactly would you go about doing it?

There are two basic styles of editing – you can edit as you go along or you can edit as you proofread at the end. Most of the time, writers develop their own editing style, but it can usually be streamlined to make it an easier, quicker and more satisfying process.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of the two main editing styles:

Editing While Writing

Pros

Editing while writing is easy. You are going to glance over large chunks of text as you are writing your article and chances are that if you find a mistake you are going to correct it. This will save you time in the proofreading process at the end and can make writing the piece itself more inspiring and keep you focused.

It will also allow you to keep yourself writing. Once you get into a writing flow, it can be difficult to get into one again once you have been interrupted and it can be difficult to achieve the same tone if your mood has even slightly changed since you first started to write your article. Editing while writing ensures that the piece stays consistent all the way through.

Cons

You might miss something. It can be a little difficult to come up with ways to phrase things, especially regarding new ideas that you might not be familiar with, and if you focus on that then writing while editing could lead you to miss some huge mistakes that have nothing to do with what you are focusing on. This is particularly true in highly technical topics.

Editing After Writing

Pros

Editing after writing means that you are likely going be to be thorough, watching for little mistakes, and reading over and over again until you find that everything makes sense and suits the tone you are going for. This way of editing is a great way to ensure that your article is perfect before you present it.

It is also likely to keep you more organized. If you are juggling several articles at the same time, but make sure to proofread and edit straight away after you read it, you are more likely to stay organized in all articles that way.

Cons

It will take longer. Editing after writing is not always ideal, particularly if you are in a rush: it will take you longer to read the piece and then edit it, and you might want to change up big chunks of it, something that you would not have to do normally after editing your piece on the go.

However you decide to edit really depends on your style, what your time frame is for your article and the result should be a mix of advice and experimentation that works best for you.

Over to you! What is your editing style? How do you want to improve your editing style and workflow over the coming weeks? Let us know in the comments below!

James Brooks is a professional blogger, web designer and social media consultant based on the South West coast of England. As well as being a co-founder of GPlusTuts, a blog about Google+, James also enjoys blogging about technology, food and tea!
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