Edit Before We Edit: Self-Editing Tips

self-editingEditing your own writing can be a daunting task, even for an editor. Of course every writer needs a professional editor, but it is always best to go through your work before handing it over to save you, and your editor, time and frustration. Before you start your editing, look through the following tips to make the process easier and more effective.

Walk Away

It is always best to have a fresh set of eyes when editing, so when you are editing your own work try waiting a day or two after you have finished writing before you look at it again. If you are on a tight deadline, take a walk or go drink a cup of coffee. Just make sure you give yourself enough distance so you can look at your writing from a different perspective.

Read out Loud

When you are reading back through your work, read the words out loud. Your writing might sound great in your head (it always does), but hearing it might help you realize some parts are unclear. Enunciate as much as you can while reading. This will help you find typos and incorrect words instead of letting your mind fill in the correct words. It’s probably best to avoid practicing this method in public places, as you might be labeled “The Creepy Enunciator.” On second thought, that’s a great nickname; go enunciate anywhere you want!

Put on Your Reader Shoes

You know your book, what you want people to get out of it and how you want people to feel when reading it. Take all this into account and put on your readers’ shoes—how would you react as the reader? Sometimes when looking at your writing from a different perspective you will find parts that didn’t come across as you had intended. Change these parts to evoke your intended reaction or convey to your book editor what you want the reader to think or feel and they will take it from there.

As always, find methods that work best for you. If you have a tip you would like to share, please leave a comment below.

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