Today’s Lesson: Reading is fundamental, but re-reading is essential if you want to be understood.
One of my favorite posts so far this year is this one, about embracing “weirdness” at organizations. It also happens to be one of my least read so far, and that was bugging me until I went back and read it.
When I re-read that post, I realized it was bloated and confusing. It was not written well. I cleaned it up a little but it is still not where I want it. This, I think, is definitely one of the trade-offs to having a daily blog. I write every day and I have a full-time job plus other hobbies and social commitments. There is not much time for refining or editing.
Typically, the process is I write it once and I read it once, editing as I go. What the wonderful spelling and grammar checker built into WordPress misses and what I miss… are missed. There is bound to be minor errors in some (probably most) of my posts but I have learned to be okay with them for the sake of moving on and continuing to put out new material.
It is rare that I go back and re-read a post once it is published, but the “Office Spaced” post, I thought, was a gem and I was wondering why it ranked so low. Was it the time of day I posted? The day of the week? The title? Keywords? Was Google not finding it?
I by no means consider myself an expert or authoritative blogger and I have never gone out of my way to build a platform and audience but I like to know what hits and what misses and have at least a general idea why.
What I have mostly found is if it is written well, people usually find it (and share it). The funny thing is, I am certain I fall into the same trap as many would-be writers. When I go back and read my writing, I fill in the blanks with my mind. In other words, I know what I meant and that is what I hear in my head.
Going back and reading your work again a few days or weeks later, and then editing, is a common trick to prevent filling in the blanks. The idea is no longer fresh at that point so you don’t remember what you meant and read it more like a new reader.
The point, as you have by now guessed, is this: it always sounds better in your head.