Nobody’s perfect. You might be the best content writer in your field, with masterful wordplay and an unparalleled depth of knowledge, but you’ll still occasionally miss a key when you’re typing or use “farther” instead of “further.” Mistakes don’t care how much you know, they just happen. Redrafting is about damage control – like checking a boat for pin-hole leaks before you head out to sea.
It’s true that you can have enough knowledge of grammar and spelling to avoid simple mistakes, but assuming it never happens is foolish. As a freelancer, you’re responsible for your own content. You don’t have a pedantic team of copy editors waiting to swoop in and save the day. Anything you write has to be looked over with a fine-toothed comb before it’s ready to go live.
Loud and clear
Reading your work out loud might sound like a strange thing to do (like soliloquizing without an audience), but it’s the best method of catching staggering, uncomfortable sentences. Any inconsistencies in flow or odd grammatical construction will stick out like a clown in a police line-up. Chop and change your work until it reads naturally, removing unnecessary punctuation and smoothing out any clunky copy.
Verbosity is a necessity for a writer, but it’s easy to go too far. You can describe a product as a “shimmering, glorious masterpiece of technological engineering,” but readers sniff out overkill like blood-hounds. You aren’t writing a prose-poem. Sometimes less is more, and even if it is shimmering and glorious, “a masterpiece of technological engineering” gets the message across without pushing things too far. If you’re running over your word count, pointless descriptive words should be first on the chopping block.
Holy crap, did I create this masterpiece?!
On that note, don’t fall in love with your own work. Even a perfectly crafted sentence has to be mercilessly removed if it isn’t needed or upsets the flow. You’ll look better if you keep things tight and effective, so don’t let your ego run riot with your writing.
One extra tip: don’t redraft straight away. Have a coffee, relax for five minutes and then look at it again. You need to approach redrafts with a clear mind. If you can follow the instructions above and you ensure that the content hits the brief on the head, you won’t have any problems.