Many bloggers see the writing of a blog post as a single (albeit very important) job. But you can write more efficiently if the job is divided into two tasks. This article explains how to write a better quality post by separating your ‘inner writer’ and ‘inner editor.’
You know the problem. You start writing your post with a dear goal in mind. But halfway in, you find yourself tinkering with sentence structure and cutting-and-pasting chunks of text. Your creative juices have dried up and you are left staring at a muddle of words with no dear overall direction. You have lost sight of the aim of your post.
The difficulty lies in trying to do two things at once; write and edit. Editing as you write inhibits the flow of your thoughts. Your creative ‘writer’ side is trying to get your idea out. But your analytical ‘editor’ side is trying to make sense of order and correct your writing. If you allow your internal editor to interfere before your internal writer has finished, then neither writer nor editor can do their job well.
Getting your post finished becomes easier and quicker if you separate these two tasks. You need to know which role you are inhabiting at a given moment.
Your Inner Writer
This is the first role. Spend a moment clarifying in your mind what your post is about. You may have two or three salient points you want to cover in detail. It might help to write these points down and refer back to them as you write, to make sure you stay on course.
Make a conscious decision to ignore your inner editor who will try to butt in with helpful amendments like, ‘Wouldn’t that sentence be better in the past tense?’. Switch your editor off.
Now start writing. Don’t stop to correct spelling or grammar mistakes (plenty of time for our editor to do that for you later). If you can’t think of the right word, stick in a word that will do for the moment or simply leave a blank. Don’t stop writing to go to the dictionary or thesaurus; that’s your editor’s job. If you can touch-type, then do so, looking at your screen as little as possible. The aim here is to keep up a continuous flow of thought, translating your idea into words
When you have said everything you want to say, stop.
Your Inner Editor
First, take a break. You could work on another post or, even better, get away from the screen altogether. It will allow you time to remove your writer hat and put on your editor hat.
Now when you come back to your post it’s time to edit. This is where you get out your mental ‘Big Red Pen’ and put on your sternest editor-like frown. Your writer-self should be well out of the way. Your editor-self is going to finish the job.
You will (hopefully) have written your post in a flurry of creative inspiration. But when you read it back as editor, you may find the words don’t convey your meaning quite as you’d intended. Using our editor you must now craft the raw material your writer-self has provided into a tight and polished blog post.
Check that every paragraph expands on or illustrates your main points. Any unrelated waffle either delete or cut and save for another post. You may have produced some very good writing, but your editor-self must be ruthless and only allow into the post that which is pertinent.
The well-worn phrase ‘kill your darlings’ applies here. Your ‘darlings’ are the words and phrases you lovingly conjured up in ‘writer’ mode. But now in ‘editor’ mode you may see that some of these words and phrases however much you love them, may be irrelevant for your post.Your editor-self has the unfortunate task of selecting and culling self-indulgent writing.
Make sure your writing flows naturally. If you stumble over a sentence or have to read something twice, then the meaning isn’t clear and you should re-write it. Of course, check for the obvious: spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
If your writer and editor selves are allowed to do their jobs efficiently and separately, you will produce that valuable end result you were aiming for; a crisp and well-written blog post.