As a blogger you’re going to find that some of your posts need to be updated occasionally. Whether it’s because the information has changed, your perspective has changed, or they just aren’t up to snuff.
As I’ve learned about the art of blogging I’ve had to rewrite several posts that didn’t fit the focus of my site and weren’t quite good enough. At first it was frustrating, but it became a really interesting part of the journey for me as I got to comb through my earliest posts and see how much I’ve grown.
Here are the steps I take when I want to rewrite a post for whatever reason.
Have someone else review your post. Often times fresh eyes can help you see and focus on what’s lacking in a given post. After pouring our heart and soul out it can be hard to detach from our writing, so having someone else read it is a good place to start. Make sure you choose someone you trust to be honest and who knows you (and your writing style). Remember you want suggestions on how to make your writing better, not just more like theirs.
Rehab or gut job. After you’ve gotten some honest feedback it’s time to decide if the post can be spruced up with a rehab job, or if you have to completely gut it and start over. If you’re not sure, try rewriting just the first couple of paragraphs. If you find yourself replacing nearly every word, it would probably be easier to start fresh.
Target your work. What’s not quite right about your old post? Maybe you need to update old information. Maybe you hadn’t quite found your “voice” yet when you wrote it. Maybe you’ve changed your opinion on, learned more about, or had a personal experience with the subject. Whatever it is, make sure you’re not throwing out the baby with the bath water. Focus your new writing where it’s needed and keep the parts that were strong to begin with. Unless it’s a gut job – then just go at it with a sledgehammer.
Just do it. Personally I find rewrites harder than writing a new post. Maybe it’s because I feel like I’ve already failed at it once… but the words don’t flow as easily when it’s a second (or third) attempt. That’s when I have to sit down at my computer and just do it.
Post/Redirect. Depending on the post, I might use the updated version as a new post. After all, why do all that work for nothing? Knowing that my efforts are going toward a “new” post gives me more motivation and it is a way to make sure that my new and improved writing isn’t buried in a years-old post, 23 pages down. However, I don’t want people with the old link reading my less-than-stellar original post either. On that page I’ll set up a 301 redirect so that anyone who follows the old link will automatically be sent to the newer version and you won’t have any broken links.
The trick with rewriting old posts is to see it as a blessing. There aren’t many areas of your life that you get to go back and do over. My first couple years teaching were awful by my present day standards, and don’t even get me started on my first days as a mom!
With writing you can go back and clean up your mistakes, and learn something new in the process!
How do you go about rewriting old posts? Share in the comments.
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