Self-Editing Tips Every Writer Should Know
No matter what you are writing, editing must be part of the process if you hope to impress your audience. Professional editing, with human experts going over your work, is always the best approach, but you can make a difference on your own. Here are some self-editing tips that will help you avoid basic mistakes and keep your writing on track.
Write First, Edit Later
An issue that many writers face is editing their work while they are writing. That inner editor just keeps working away when you should be productive, and the results are anything but efficient. You stop every couple of sentences to correct a spelling mistake, go back to rearrange a paragraph or sit there staring at the screen for five minutes trying to think of the perfect word.
If this sounds like you, it’s time to turn off that inner editor and just write. If you know you’ve just made a spelling or grammar mistake, leave it. If you’re stuck on a single word, come back to it later. Editing as you go disrupts the flow and will end up taking longer.
When It’s Time to Edit
However, when it is time to edit you should put on your editing hat and focus on the task at hand. Editing has a slightly different meaning depending on who you ask, but if you take that time to add, subtract, correct and rearrange, you should be fine. You’ve left the editing until the piece is finished, so take the opportunity to strengthen every part of your work, without distraction.
Don’t Be Lazy
Sometimes a writer, or someone working on a writing assignment, knows they are cutting a corner and knows the solution requires a bit of research, but laziness wins the day. Learning what you don’t know right now is a great way to improve your self-editing skills and overall writing ability. If you aren’t sure, take the time to look it up — you’ll be happy you did!
Shout It Out Loud!
Ok, you don’t really have to shout, but you should read it out loud as part of the editing process. When you read your own work out loud and slowly, you will pick up inconsistencies with the rhythm, the organization and the flow. If you can’t pick everything up on your own, ask a friend or co-worker to read it to you, or read it to them and ask for feedback.
Take a Break
If you are the type who gets so into a piece of writing that you aren’t sure if it is great, mediocre or horrible, force yourself to take a break. A long break isn’t always necessary; sometimes just getting away from your computer for 15 minutes will help. Ideally, the break should be between the completion of the writing and the start of the editing process.
As always, we are here if you need more thorough editing on any piece of writing. Give us a call today and we’ll let you know what we can do for you.