Ever hesitate when you’re about to hit publish on your latest blog post?
You’re sure you should give it one more read through.
Maybe you’ve missed a typo. Maybe you’ve misquoted someone. The wording in that third paragraph still doesn’t seem quite right.
Here’s what you need to do. Stop overthinking and just hit publish.
Yes, I hate typos just as much as the next person. And I used to complain about grammatical errors and typos showing up more and more on professional websites.
But now that I’ve been writing a lot of online content and have to get it up by strict deadlines, I’ve come to a different realization.
These types of errors are inevitable.
And while editing once or twice is fine, over-editing eventually becomes a monster that destroys both your productivity and your writing.
1. Over-editing prevents you from improving as a writer.
Everyone starts at the bottom and then gradually gets better with practice. Our first work will never be our best work because we are always improving. But there are only so many hours in a day, only so many hours in our lives. Obsessing over editing your piece is taking away valuable hours that could be spent on practicing your craft.
2. Over-editing breeds a mindset that your writing has to be perfect.
Perfect is impossible. We are human. The wonderful thing in today’s Internet age is that nearly everything can be edited even after it is published, from blog posts to Facebook comments to Kindle books. Think of your writing as in the testing stages once published rather than an un-editable final copy.
3. Over-editing leads to writer’s block.
When you think your writing has to be perfect, you can end up rewriting sentences or paragraphs for hours. Eventually, you might end up getting completely stuck, unsure of the correct wording and bewildered with how to move forward.
In these situations, you might have to put your writing aside and move on to another project or ask a friend for help. A new set of eyes can help you overcome your perfectionism.
4. Over-editing will destroy your unique voice.
When you edit your piece too many times, you can end up editing the very soul out of it. A conversational style of writing is valued more than ever today. It helps you connect with your readers. If your writing sounds too stiff and formal, it can alienate your readers. Let your personality come through.
5. Over-editing will prevent you from helping others.
Your writing doesn’t have to be 100% perfect in order to help and inspire someone. When you hesitate to hit publish, however, it means that your writing cannot help anyone. Instead of stressing out over grammatical perfection, consider instead whether your writing is valuable. Have you worked passionately to create a piece of writing that will help others?
When you find yourself over-editing, stop and think about why you are afraid to hit publish. Are there really major errors in this piece of writing? Are you just overthinking things? Are you being a perfectionist?
If you continue to struggle with over-editing, set deadlines for yourself and make sure to meet them.
Don’t let over-editing sabotage your productivity and hold you back from sharing your writing with the world. As New York Times Bestselling author Jon Acuff writes, “90 percent perfect and shared with the world always changes more lives than 100 percent perfect and stuck in your head.”
What methods will you take to stop yourself from over-editing? If you found this post helpful, be sure to leave a comment and share with someone you would like to inspire.