There is a lot of advice when it comes to the drafting process. Then comes revision or editing, and the advice becomes a bit less concrete. 

It’s taken me some time and practice, but I’ve developed a checklist that I work through when editing. I thought I’d share it just in case anyone needed a little bit of guidance. 

This checklist would work for almost any writing medium, so feel free to adjust it to suit your own needs.

First read

When I start the editing process, the first thing I do is read through the article out loud. While I’m doing this, I actively look for run-on sentences and fix them as I go. I do this by adding punctuation to separate independent clauses, on that note, I also check for sentence fragments. During this read, I search for passive voice too. I’m not a stickler to never writing in passive voice, and I enjoy keeping it in as a part of my writing style. I will only change it to an active voice if the vibe of the piece benefits from it.

In fact, that could be said for all of the edits on the first read. I will choose style and meaning over grammar any day. 

The last thing that I do is make sure that every sentence makes sense. I want to publish easy to follow and not overly complex articles. Clarity is key when it comes to my work, and while I don’t always hit the nail on the head, I always try my best to clarify what I’m teaching.

Again I won’t get rid of every sentence that has issues. Sometimes I prefer the piece with little “errors”. I edit for style more than I edit for correctness. 

It’s important for my brand that my voice shines through when I’m editing. It’s a part of the friend teaching you in a cafe feeling that I’m going for. 

Second read

In the second read, I examine each individual word. 

My main priority is punctuation and capitalisation. I have a checklist with each thing I’m looking for listed below. I keep all of these things in mind and on the screen while working through my article, so I always have a visual reference list. 

  1. Capitalisation 
  2. Quotation marks 
  3. Apostrophes
  4. Semicolons
  5. Hyphens
  6. Tense
  7. Punctuation

Third read

The third read is the last read. I go through the entire article ensuring there are no typos or wrongly used words. I’m dyslexic, so this part is difficult and can take a long time. 

Then I hope for the best and hit the publish button. 

That’s my whole process from start to finish. Hopefully, it was helpful and gave you some tips on what to look out for. 

I find that the editing process always goes more smoothly when I follow this checklist. I find it much easier to look at the list of things I need to get right instead of memorising them. 

As always, I cannot wait to see you on the bookshelf.