I'm going to be open with you. I've been going through a lot in my personal life. Three people in my family suffers from severe mental illness and as the main caretaker, things can go from hectic to dangerous in seconds.
I've found when you have things going on with your family, your writing quality tends to suffer. You can't just stop writing for you clients when things get hard (though sometimes taking a break is a good idea!). You need the money to keep your personal life from deteriorating even more, right?
Stupid mistakes are my nemesis when my mind is distracted. The best thing to do is to try your best, but also fall back on a checklist to be sure you didn't miss anything before you submit the work.
Here's a handy checklist you can use when your world is upside down. (Or anytime, really!)
- Does the title make sense?
- Is the title in the right style of capitalization for the publication? For example, are all the words capitalized? Or just this first?
- Does the title have good flow and include keywords?
- Take out the unnecessary "that” words found in your article.
- Check your “it’s” and “its” to make sure they are correct.
- Are the headers in H3 or H2, depending on your client’s requirements?
- Is there enough photos?
- Did you meet the word count requirement, if there is one?
- Take a look at all of the “an” and “a” words in your article. If they come before a word with a vowel, remember the it should be “an” not “a.”
- Did you link to any sources or cite your sources correctly, depending on the needs of the client?
- Do all your sentences flow well? Remember to mix compound sentences and simple sentences throughout a paragraph to make the rhythm interesting.
- Make sure your paragraphs transition well.
- Are all of the sentences punctuated correctly?
- Cut any repetitions or unneeded words. (Remember, no fluff!)
- Does the overall theme fit the idea of the article, or did you go off track?
- Did you break down complicated steps into numbered lists?
- Did you make a group of items into bulleted lists for easy reading?
- If your article or blog has keywords, did you make sure to use them naturally so they don’t seem awkward?
- Is there a Call to Action or something to lead the reader to another page?
- Did you use first, second or third person throughout?
- Is the article or blog the right tone? Is it too formal or too casual, for example?
- Pretend you’ve never read this post before and know little about the subject. Is any of it confusing?
- Are there any videos or gifs you can embed to make the post more interesting?
Here's a free PDF version of the checklist you can download and print: