The Semi-Ultimate Guide to Self-Editing Your Content Like a Pro - Carney
The Daily Carnage

The Semi-Ultimate Guide to Self-Editing Your Content Like a Pro

Grab a notebook and fasten your seatbelts, this article is a wild ride. It’s the most comprehensive editing guide we’ve seen. Plus, it has a ton of kick. Seriously, this guy is a great writer. If you love reading this newsletter, you’ll dig this too.

The author guides you through the exact editing process he’s developed to greatly improve his own writing. “There are no friends, co-workers, or editors required — only you, yourself, and… you again.”

Some other dope things about this article:

  • The author includes real examples of content before and after the editing process
  • He’s turned the article into a downloadable checklist ←← ← (if you don’t have time to take notes) 

Let’s take it from the top:

1) Define your goals

Before you edit, ask yourself, “Why did I write this article again?”

Think of these two goals:

  • An audience-centered goal (“I want to teach my readers how to self-edit like a champion.”)
  • A business centered goal (ex. “I want to drive newsletter signups.”)

2) Start big

Before diving into the small details of your article, you need to ensure that its overarching structure and flow are solid. Think of Ann Handley’s “chainsaw editing.”

  • For example, 99% of the time, you can cut 60% (or more) of your intro, because it’s filled with “warm-up copy.”
  • Move on to the body and ensure your sections are (1) optimally ordered, (2) delete paragraphs that don’t serve your purpose, (3) ensure your sentences are optimally ordered, (4) inject data, examples, and quotes, (5) and look for ways to smooth the “switch” between your sections.
  • Conclusions, on the other hand, are unnecessary unless your article is super long or if there’s a ton of data inside. Otherwise, forget it.

3) Start editing with “surgical tools”

“Surgical tool editing” is the process of fixing the small errors in your writing, like bad flow, sentence clutter, and improper word usage.

To begin, strengthen your first sentence by shortening it or tickle your reader’s curiosity. Think, Ray Bradbury’s “It was a pleasure to burn.” Then, shorten the other sentences in your intro.

Move on to the body, and well… we’re gonna have to let the author take it from here.  Dive in, it’s well worth the trip → 


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