Practice makes perfect.
Copyediting is a skill and that means like anything else you need to roll up your sleeves and do it often to improve.
There are also 171,476 words in the English language to master. (Crazy, right?)
That’s not including grammar, punctuation, syntax, and other details.
If you want to land high-paying clients, advance your career, or just become better at your hobby, you’re in the right place.
I’m going to teach you five copyediting exercises you can start doing today.
These will keep your skills sharp as an axe.
1. Edit family and friends work
Not everybody is a great writer.
That’s an excellent opportunity for you though. 🙂
I’m sure you have friends, family, and colleagues who aren’t the savviest writers on the planet.
See where I’m going with this?
Whether it’s old work, reports, an essay, or a school assignment, ask if they’d like you to edit it for them.
It’s always good to pull a favor for your ole pal. 👍
Secondly, it’s an excellent way to practice copyediting with a random topic and assignment.
You don’t know what the subject or structure is beforehand. It makes it a very challenging exercise.
It will skyrocket your copyediting skill and confidence.
I suggest tapping your network on social media to reach the greatest amount of people.
Send out a message on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and anywhere else you’re active with a message like this:
Hey everyone! I’m trying to build up my copyediting skills and portfolio. If you have an assignment, report, or any material that needs editing, I’d love to edit it for free. Message me if you’re interested!
It’s as simple as that.
2. Critique famous copy
There’s always room for improvement.
So why not learn from the best?
There are hundreds if not thousands of famously published sales letters, landing pages, and other material that you can critique and learn from.
I love doing this myself as a copywriter for hire.
Use a website like Swiped.co which is a database of famous and successful sales copy.
Pick your poison. 👇
Then it’s off to the races!
Carefully go through the document just like you would with any other project.
What could you edit?
What would you rearrange?
What would you completely remove?
Don’t be afraid just because it generated a million dollars. 😉
It’s a great test of your skills and creativity.
Better yet, rewrite it with your changes in a separate Word Doc.
Keep this as a portfolio piece to show future clients or to show off on your website.
3. Re-write your favourite blog
Do you like reading blogs?
It’s a good way to stay on your toes as a writer and editor.
It gives you inspiration. Ideas. Knowledge.
Visit your favourite blog today. Go to any of their posts (or one you like in particular) and give it a facelift.
Be harsh. Critique it.
Rewrite the edited version in a new Word Doc.
4. Join copyediting Facebook groups
You don’t have to be a lone wolf as a copyeditor or writer.
The opposite in fact.
There are many communities you can join to receive feedback, ask questions, and find freelance work.
Let’s head over to Facebook to begin.
Enter “Copyediting” or another keyword into search bar and filter by “Groups.”
This will list all of the available copyediting and associated groups that you can apply to join.
Some will accept you instantly and others will ask a few questions and approve you later.
Join as many as you like.
However, note that you can get flooded with notifications. Learn from my mistake. 😂
Help others with their work.
They will return the favor and it will 10x your editing skills.
Feel free to join my copywriting group as well.
5. Offer free copyediting on Reddit
Want to gain skill and a portfolio faster than a cheetah?
You need to use Reddit.
Reddit, A.K.A the biggest website on the internet, is a convenient place to begin building your portfolio and helping others with copyediting.
Here’s what you need to do…
First, head over to one of the freelance subreddits like:
Click the “Submit a new text post” button on the top right. This will allow you to make a thread.
Give it a title such as “Performing free copyediting services to build my portfolio”
Introduce yourself, describe the services you are providing, and why you are doing them in the text box below this.
Add your contact information such as an email or ask them to DM you on Reddit.
But listen up.
Reddit is ruthless.
So, please, ensure that you read the sidebar of every subreddit you visit to make sure that you aren’t breaking the rules. You’ll get hit with the banhammer otherwise. ❌
Once everything looks good, hit the post button!
I would expect people to start contacting you that same day presuming you post on active subreddits.
I would set a cap too.
You don’t want 100 people messaging you and suddenly you’re overwhelmed. Cap it at 10 for example and let them know it’s first come first serve.
Complete these copyediting assignments
Last but not least, here’s a treat for you.
I researched and found several websites that have copyediting exercise sheets.
Your task is to follow their guidelines and fix the writing.
Here they are:
- Oxford University Press Exercises
- ThoughtCo exercises
- University of California exercises
- Brush Education exercise
- Teachnology exercises
Wrapping up today’s copyediting exercises
You won’t get better as an editor unless you edit.
Roll up your sleeves, crack your knuckles, and start editing today.
It doesn’t matter what it is.
…Friends and families work.
…Free stuff on Reddit.
…Editing others’ work in Facebook groups.
You name it.
There’s no shortage of ways to find opportunities to build up your talent and portfolio.
Start hustling and update me with your progress. 🙂