Hell if I know what a blog editor does.
Editing is a part of any dream, whether you want to be a famous singer or own a winery on the Pacific coast. All dreams require adjustments so that you can become a person capable of handling everything that will come from dreaming your particular dream.
When I talk about blog editing, I am not necessarily talking about correct grammar, although grammar and using any tool correctly is important. Giving your dream your very best effort–especially when you are a writer–matters.
But when I talk about blog editing, I am speaking about the rearranging of content so that readers will read it and search engines will find it.
I guess you could say that I started my editing involvement, or “rearranging obsession” back when I first began to push my bedroom furniture around with my butt. My dad finally built me a dollhouse in one side of my closet so I could move my rearranging obsession from pushing around my massive bedroom furniture without help to rearranging miniature doll furniture instead. Growing up I spent many hours moving doll furniture around, making and gluing mini-curtains, reupholstering small furniture, and changing rooms around.
What would happen if I put the kitchen in the bedroom? Let’s do it!
I can’t believe that my dad saved our house paint for me so I could mix colors and paint my dollhouse walls by myself. God, talk about parental trust!
Once I entered high school, I moved on to writing and rearranging content on the school newspaper. I loved my journalism class and working with the other students. At the time I excelled at journalism, I was recovering from being bullied and losing a best friend involved with it, while being told that my dad had esophageal cancer.
My school newspaper participation saved me and this is when I really got into rearranging content.
Don’t get me wrong, as a writer I loved researching stories and then writing about issues important to the students. I worked hard to write from all points of view–unless some kids were hurting other students–then all bets were off. My experience with the newspaper helped me look at fellow students with compassion while my newspaper teacher taught me how to layout a newspaper for print. He also let me sell newspaper advertising to local businesses and me and my new best friend, Lee, were damn good at it.
But I loved, loved, loved laying out the newspaper for print.
After my father died, I put all my writing and “journalism silliness” behind me and pursued careers in banking tech and management. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to create my first blog, at the encouragement of a dear, dear tech guy friend, that I began to play around with layout and content once again. It had been 20 years since I looked at how people read short stories.
I found that not only had I missed writing, but I suddenly became fascinated by how blogging was supposed to work and how people read on electronic devices. What? I can rearrange my own content? Sweet Jesus, there is a God!
I’ve been involved with tech, blogging and content ever since.
But what does a blog editor do?
Well, for starters, my computer and work desk are in my bedroom because I want it all right near me in a quiet place where I can create at any time. Does that tell you anything about me? There are those that would say that having “work” in your bedroom is a big mistake, but if it was good enough for famous columnist and writer, Erma Bombeck, then it’s good enough for me.
Besides, any aging women will tell you that there are advantages to rolling out of bed when you can’t sleep and being able to write a 2:00 a.m. story, or at least, type out some story ideas.
This may annoy the other people in your life and make some for some challenging early mornings.
For example, it’s a holiday weekend, and there are things on the 8WD site that need my attention besides the fact that I need to write and edit my own weekly story. So I roll out of bed early this morning, brush my hair and immediately sit down in front of the computer to begin to work with 8WD content before coffee has even graced my lips.
Someone somewhere in my home manages to make coffee without bugging me until they nudge me in the shoulder with a hot cup while I am in the middle of studying semicolons (because I suck at using them). Karen, our newest 8 Women Dreamer makes me painfully aware of my lack of semicolon use every time I read one of her perfectly semicoloned stories. While reviewing and admiring her work before she’s ready to publish and offering her my feedback in Google chat I realize I’d better REALLY re-enter the world of semicolon knowledge while gulping my first taste of coffee.
It begins to dawn on me that I am going to need a lot more practice.
Then my college son interrupts me because at age 19 going on almost 50 he is at that stage where he doesn’t want my attention until he wants my attention NOW. I’ve learned to take advantage of these now moments because it’s the only time he may tell me about girls at school and his friends.
Finding out about your son’s life is like trying to get someone on the opposite site of the Grand Canyon to yell back to you. I seize the moment and, of course, he would like food with my answers.
We have to negotiate on who will be scrambling the eggs.
I take a break from editing and semicolon hell.
When my son has decided he’s had enough of mom, I brush my teeth, get dressed and go back to my bedroom computer and shut the door. I usually begin writing at this time if the artistic flow is happening. If not, I look at the website stats for stories that are dying, read comments and respond, add comments, fix ALT tags, work on social media accounts, answer emails (aghhhhhhh so many emails … SIGH), and continue studying semicolons which leads me to studying separate clauses which leads me to being distracted by a YouTube video where I watch a segment on Rosie O’Donnell’s stand-up: A Heartfelt Stand Up.
I make a mental note to watch this later on HBO and run some heat-map testing on the home page of 8WD.
I realize we need to get out an 8WD newsletter and add it to my to-do list, then suddenly the writing muse hits me and I shift over to writing this story. I write for several hours before beginning my keyword phrase research. I stop to have a late lunch and read over some of my favorite blogs on my Kindle. I look at 8WD logo sample feedback and add a note to my to-do list. I go for a walk and spend some time planting herbs in my garden.
By now, dinner is being barbecued for me and pretty soon there comes a knock on my door letting me know that dinner is ready. I join my family and we watch a round of 6 Nations Rugby. We eat, clean up and I sit down to watch a video from one of the online courses I am taking. I am always updating my skills– ALWAYS. You have to.
I see that Rosie O’Donnell’s HBO special is airing soon and since she has a large women following I want to take in what she will be talking about so I set the channel reminder.
By the time Rosie’s special is to begin, the kitchen had been cleaned and round one of my story editing was complete. I was thrilled to find that I was going to have the living room to myself because if I had to watch one more sporting event with men I was going to kill myself. I laid across the couch and placed my journal on my lap in case I wanted to make some notes. I was mesmerized by Rosie’s stand-up performance. People have no idea how hard it is to entertain people by being a storyteller. I love watching women dreamers at work. Rosie’s talents are a force to be reckoned with.
And you know what? Rosie’s dream-come-true life isn’t perfect either. Life is life.
Her HBO special becomes an important program to watch because at the end she describes what it is like for women when we are having a heart attack, which is very different from what happens to men when they are having one. I tweeted her because Rosie’s HBO special will save lives. I then did one last survey of the 8WD Facebook Page, answered some chat questions to some 8 Women Dreamers, and set off for my bedroom.
As I entered my bedroom, I glance at my bedroom desk where I decide to answer just a few more emails, study some title ideas for this post and save this for more editing the next day. Before drifting off to sleep I make a list of everything I need to get done for my own dream for the week, tasks for 8 Women Dream on Sunday, and ideas for the site and myself the rest of the week. I fall asleep with my journal on my chest and my glasses tilted up on to my forehead.
My computer remains on, logged into the 8 Women Dream site with the yellow glow from the monitor lighting my darkened room to remind me the several times during the night that there is always more work to be done.
Dreaming is 24/7.
And so is blog editing.
Take your big dream online.
Catherine Hughes is the founder, content director and editor-at-large of 8WomenDream. She is passionate about helping women step out of their own way and strike out into a world waiting for their special talents. She’s a published author and a former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine has helped companies both large and small create engaging web content, social media narratives, and unique blogging platforms. She claims to be a redhead, but don’t hold that against her.
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