My top editing resources and other things I’ve learned as a freelance editor
As a freelance writer and co-editor of an online publication, I’m constantly editing the work of other writers. Most of my daily work is editing someone else’s writing. It wasn’t always like this, but lately, I’ve noticed that even my freelance business has shifted into editing projects instead of drafting original content.
You never stop learning as an editor. Even when you think you know it all, or you’ve found your rhythm in editing content written by others, a more experienced editor will look at your own work and send it back to you with a million notes and suggestions.
Yes, seeing so many marks and rejections made by an editor is discouraging. We like to think our writing is amazing and 100% ready to be published, right? But as writers, we should dive deeper into the suggestions made by editors who take their time to help us with our work.
I look back at my experience working with the Human Parts editors when they published my stories, and I remember how much I learned through their critique of my work. Instead of becoming self-critical of my writing skills (I mean after the initial shock of how many markups there were), I jotted down the suggestions the wonderful editor made for my piece so I could use their style of thinking when I wrote my next article. And the next one.
In my freelance writing, I’ve worked side-by-side with other editors, and every time my work is styled and transformed by someone else, I think, “Oh man. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning as an editor.”
Most recently, it was my article on breakups and relationships for Business Insider.
The editor did a fantastic job of cleaning up my article and suggesting ways to make my writing stand out even more. I’m so grateful when I have a positive editor/writer experience, and that motivates me into trying to be the best editor I can be when I edit the amazing Fearless She Wrote submissions we get in our inbox every single day.
So, I’ve learned — I’ll never know everything about editing. Or writing. And that’s exciting to me. There will always be opportunities to learn more and grow to be better. But I would like to share my favorite online tools for writing/editing that I cannot live without. *Not an ad for anything listed, I honestly can’t function without these sites.
1. Title Case Converter: Helps You Write a Properly Capitalized Title
In case you forgot, an article’s title should always be in title case.
- Titles in Title Case Look Like This
- titles not in title case look like this
Subtitles, however, should not be in title case format. Do not write your subtitles in title case. It’s unnecessary work for you, and, not to mention, extra work for the editors reading your article. (Please please please don’t do it.)
Medium’s stance is also a no on title-cased subtitles. Directly from their curation guidelines article: “Standard headline styling is title case for the headline and sentence case for the subtitle. This isn’t required but is ideal.” Ideal. Whatever you’re writing, you want it to be ideal.
When writing a title, sometimes we’re not sure what words we should capitalize. Instead of spending unnecessary time Googling what should and shouldn’t be capitalized, just go to Title Case Converter’s website.
Once you’re in, you copy your headline into the box provided and click convert. And just like that, your title has been converted into a properly styled title. It’s a very basic site, nothing fancy about it. But it does EXACTLY what it promises to do. By using this tool, you save yourself from wondering if your title is formatted correctly. It’s super easy, fast, and it’s my number one tool.
2. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer: Helps You Write a Great Title
Writing headlines is not my thing. I don’t think it’s anyone’s favorite part of writing. My headlines usually suck at first. They sound generic and aren’t very eye-catching.
I used to text other writer friends and ask, “Which title is better? A or B? Help me!”
But now, I use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer, and it’s heaven-sent. All you do is type your headline in, and click ‘Analyze Now.’ It will give you a numerical rating and explain why and how it could be improved.
Write Better Headlines: Headline Analyzer From CoSchedule — @CoSchedule
The Headline Analyzer that will score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares…coschedule.com
For example, if I type, “This is a Sample,” CoSchedule says it’s only a 57 rated title, which isn’t very high. The closer you can get to 100, the better.
So, if I’m not happy with the rating, I play with the title. I’ll try, “This is a Sample Title” or “This is Only a Sample.” And I’ll continue to do that until I find a title that rates high while giving context to my writers about what my piece is about. They also list the breakdown of the rating (see below), where it tells you which words you’ve used in your title are common, uncommon, powerful, and emotional.
It’s the greatest tool to help you stay away from titles no one wants to click on!
3. ProWritingAid/Grammarly: Helps You Proofread Your Article
I know there’s a debate of ProWritingAid vs Grammarly. Some people prefer one or the other, and they become devoted to whichever they can’t live without.
ProWritingAid and Grammarly are both web editors. They catch grammar errors and help you with clarity. They both clean up your writing to be more engaging for your readers. (If you don’t want to pay for either, there are free versions of both! No excuses.)
I use both. But I only think ProWritingAid’s premium version is worth it. Grammarly, not so much. I have tried both, and I canceled my Grammarly premium subscription.
Still, I have the Google Chrome extension of Grammarly installed because it catches every typo as I’m drafting and editing. It does everything I want it to in a free version. And when my article is finished, before I click publish, submit, or send in a pitch, I copy and paste the whole thing into ProWritingAid’s website.
As you can see, the menu bar on this ProWritingAid web editor will give you a summary on the style, the structure, the length, the readability, and the overall look of your piece. It will tell you which words are overused and give you suggestions on how you can replace them best with a thesaurus tool. I love this site and I use it every single day. I cannot edit without it.
I hope you check out any or all of these tools. They’re amazing, they’re all free (or have free versions), and I wrote this article just to share them with anyone who is looking for great editing resources.
If you’re a writer in 2020, I suggest you familiarize yourself with writing resources.
We have the internet at our fingertips! There really should be no reason we aren’t researching and finding help to make our writing shine as bright as it can.
By having tools that capitalize words that need to be capitalized, help us write a better headline, and tell us which words are misspelled or need to be removed for clarity, writers in this day and age have it (in the words of Larry David), pretty pretty good.
So use them.