Editing: It's a Thing
“But Tech Services,” we hear you ask. “How do I know when I should be casual or when I should be formal?”
There’s no easy answer for that. If we could make you a flowchart, we would. But that flowchart would pretty much have a big step in the middle of the page that reads, “Think about it.” A major part of writing—for the internet, for print, for anything in general—is editing. It’s reading, thinking, re-reading, thinking, re-re-reading, thinking, re-re-re-reading, think—you get the idea.
Editing is more than just correcting grammar; it’s using critical thinking to make your work as clear and concise as it can possibly be. You can think of it as reading with different “lenses,” each of which serve to highlight different problem areas that you could potentially need to change.
Some possible lenses include reading for:
- Grammar and spelling errors
- Clarity and concision
- Jargon/”insider” talk—does it need to be explained? Should it be there at all?
As an editor, it’s going to be up to you to make the decisions as to how you want your content to be read. Ideally, you’re already editing for the first few things on that list, but don’t be afraid to stretch a bit and think about other ways in which your content might be considered unclear or unsuitable for publication. Don’t be afraid to nitpick your own work, either. The things you might consider minor issues may very well be the strand that others use to unravel the whole sweater.