The best books on writing tell us to set our manuscripts aside for days, weeks, even months before we do final revisions. If we give ourselves time away from our work, we have a better chance of seeing our prose as a reader (or agent or editor) would see it. We can catch errors we missed earlier in the writing process.
By jumping into the blog-a-day challenge without writing a few blogs in advance, some of us don’t have the luxury of putting our work aside for multiple rounds of self-editing. We pick our moment, sit down at the computer, quick-think a topic, write the blog, proofread a couple of times, and publish. That’s the way I’ve been doing it.
Which is why, when I went back last night and read the blog I wrote yesterday morning, I didn’t get very far before I had an Aaaargh! moment. A glaring error in grammar. Why hadn’t it glared at me before I published? Here I am, writing about the self-editing process and how to do a better job cleaning up our own manuscripts before we submit, and I can’t even see my own mistakes? Another Aaaargh!
Well, what to do but turn it into another blog, right? It could have been worse. I could have made that kind of error in a query letter, or book proposal, or on the first page of my novel. This way, I’ve only put the error out there for the whole world to see. I think I even Tweeted the link to that one. Holy mackeral, I did Tweet the link to that confounded thing. One more really loud Aaaargh!
So here’s the thing. That good advice about putting our work aside before we do final revisions, and then maybe once again before a final self-edit, might be good advice for blog writers as well. Harder to do, of course, if you’re writing about current events. But for those of us who can write our blogs in advance, it probably wouldn’t hurt. Might cut down on the Aaaargh! moments.