Published By:

Whether you’re talking about writing, editing or trimming your nose hairs, advice on how to do it well (and how to do it right) is abundant. Every bit of advice you get, though, is really just an opinion. Some opinions come from years of experience and study, some come from adherence to received dogma and some come from pure personal taste. Some opinions are shared by large numbers of people, and others are hoarded like canned meat in a bomb shelter.

Regardless of what the opinion is or where it comes from, you must remember this:

Every opinion — and therefore all advice — is biased. (That includes yours. Mine, too.)

So you should mind whose advice you take and look for the bias inherent in that advice. That isn’t to say that those with the most experience always offer the best advice, though. In some areas, that may be the case, but in other areas, people who have been doing the same thing for a long time may have fallen into a routine and forgotten how they got to that routine. Their advice may be based on and biased by their personal traditions. Traditions can be good, but they aren’t everything.

On writing advice

When it comes to blogging — and to writing in general — advice is often contradictory, and there sure is a lot of it out there. But ultimately, how you write and edit is up to you. Good writing cannot be reduced to a formula, but that’s all this advice really is: different formulas for finding the “right” words and symbols and putting them in the “right” order. They might be perfectly good formulas for specific situations, but sometimes they overlap or contradict, and you have to figure out for yourself what’s best. You have to make creative choices.

You could try to follow all the writing and editing advice you receive, but that will lead to one of two outcomes:

  1. You’ll drive yourself crazy scrutinizing every word through three or four drafts and never want to write again.
  2. You’ll completely lose your voice in your writing.

Eventually, you have to stop editing your blog posts and publish them. If you latch on to too much advice and get stuck in copious rounds of editing, agonizing over every word and every bit of writing advice, you could end up with a thousand perfect trees but a sterile, uninteresting and unenjoyable forest.

You can ignore, bend, or rewrite the so-called rules of grammar and style and still create some wonderful writing. Want to see it done? Flip through the works of James Joyce, David Foster Wallace, Jack Kerouac, William Faulkner or Cormac McCarthy.

Heck, McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Road didn’t use a single set of quotation marks, though the text is thick with dialogue.

How to successfully break the rules

What allowed these authors to succeed while breaking the “rules” is that they did it deliberately. That’s a very important word. For writing to be great, every word of it must be placed deliberately.

And that’s why editing is so important. When you edit, whether it’s a 500-word blog post or a 120,000-word novel, your job is to make sure that every word and phrase is considered and either accepted or corrected, taking into account not only what you want to say, but how you want to say it.

When you edit, you continually make choices. (But, to quote the band Rush, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”) Some people will disagree with your choices — and a few of them will let you know about it — but if you know that you have considered your options and made a choice, you can safely ignore the naysayers.

Your style is your own, and no amount of advice should take your voice away. If, while you’re editing, you find yourself thinking, “I would never say something like that,” you might be over-editing. That’s when it’s time to take a step back from the trees and look at the forest.

Need dependable editing and writing advice? Download our Blog Post Optimization Guide.

Image credit:


Sponsored Resources

Want more resources

View all Resources

Most Read


Our publication contributors combine decades of experience with unique insights into the content promotion and distribution industry.
Chad Pollitt Partner, VP of Audience Native Advertising Institute
Pam Didner Global Content Marketing Strategist & Author
Chirag Ahuja Head of Marketing WorkflowMax
Jayson DeMers Founder & CEO AudienceBloom
Erik Deckers Professional Writer Pro Blog Service
Bernie Borges CEO Find and Convert
Jessica Stephenson VP Marketing ExactHire
Michael Ferrari Marketing Consultant Pen Cap Online Marketing
Larry Alton Freelance Writer and Editor
David Tile Founder & Director Nimble Media
Jay Baer Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Author
Kelsey Libert Marketing VP & Partner
Dan Steiner Co-Founder & CEO Elite Legal Marketing
Joydeep Bhattacharya Relevance Contributor
Jonah Bliss Founder CMO ContentIntent
Andrea Lehr Promotions Supervisor Fractl
Fernando Labastida Co-Founder Content Propulsion
Dan Moyle Creative Dir. Marketing AmeriFirst
Dennis Yu Chief Technology Officer BlitzMetrics
Arnaud Roy VP Marketing Augure
John Rugh Copywriter/Content Marketing Specialist
Gini Dietrich CEO Arment Dietrich
Justin Spicer Content Researcher, Producer & Editor
Michael Becker Marketing Support Spec. Teradata
Anna Johansson Freelance Writer
Amanda DiSilvestro Content Editor and Writer HigherVisibility
Sujay Maheshwari Founder & CEO
Kelly Coulter Online Marketing Strategist
Taylor Radey Senior Consultant PR 20/20
Rodger Johnson Public Relations Leader & Consultant
Simon Penson Founder & Managing Dir. Zazzle Media
Danielle Wolter Nolan Co-Owner
Jason Falls Social Media & Public Relations Thought Leader
Joe Beccalori CEO Interact Marketing
Fernando Cuscuela Founder & CEO Everypost
Kelly Smith Content Manager CourseFinder
John McTigue EVP Kuno Creative
Yogita Arora Content Strategist Zoomph
Jordan Teicher Associate Editor Contently
Jonathan Crowl Digital Marketing Writer & Editor
Brian Honigman Marketing Consultant, Writer & Professional Speaker Skyword
Katherine Halek Content Strategist
Amanda Drinker Dooley Community Product Marketing Manager Netline
Anton Rius Digital Marketing Consultant More Than Metrics
Matthew Zajechowski Outreach Manager Digital Third Coast
Kevin Bailey Co-founder DigitalRelevance
Peter Chen Digital Marketing Consultant DigitalRelevance
Luana Spinetti Multi-Specialized Freelancer
Kyle Harper Writer Skyword
Elad Natanson Founder appnext
Maël Roth Content & Inbound Marketer Park7
Quin Woodward Pu Marketing Director Audienti
Greg Shuey Co-Founder Stryde
Douglas Karr Founder & CEO & DK New Media
Jean Bansemer CEO My Web Writers
Owen Andrew Journalist
Luke Kintigh Global Content & Media Strategist Intel
Dan Fahrner Director of Marketing Services SmallBox
Asaf Rothem Marketing VP & Partner BrightInfo
Jonha Richman User Acquisition Manager

In case you missed

Read more of the latest news and insights from thought leaders in content promotion and distribution.


Get the latest content promotion news and insights everyday.

Champion Sponsor

Relevance is proud to present our Champion Sponsor that helps make our site possible.

Cision Logo

© 2017 Relevance | Content Promotion News & Insights

Connect with RELEVANCE

Thank you for subscribing Your subscription has been confirmed.