17 Jul 2013

WW4BB Presents: Sandra Miller's How to edit your own work: Eight Effective Tips

Posted by Amanda Masters on 7:09:00 am



Author Bio:


Sandra Miller is a freelance writer, lives in New York. Two times a year watches Friends sitcom, loves salsa. Uses editing service Help.Plagtracker to write great material. Her passion is Latin American culture.

How to edit your own work: Eight Effective Tips

Really good writers are separated from mediocre talents with a thin line: the quality of their own editing. Writers who work for big publishing houses and reputable magazines have one or more editors who take care of the tasks of going through their writing, checking for ambiguous or clumsy phrasing and fixing all typos and grammar misses. However, if you don’t have a professional editor to take care of those tasks, you will be all on your own to make sure that your work has been edited effectively.

Editing your own work can never be easy. You may spend hours and hours looking at your own work without noticing some obvious mistakes. However, there are certain tips that will help you gain some skills of editing, and we will list all of them in this article.


1. Forget about editing while you’re writing

While you are writing, you should be focused solely to allowing your creativity to flow. Don’t stop in the middle of the writing for the purpose of editing, because that may slow you down and you’ll forget all your great ideas. Making a break and correcting a typo or restarting a sentence is completely fine while you are writing the initial draft version, but if you stop often in order to delete and repair entire paragraphs and sentences – you will get yourself in trouble.

Write or Die is a great service that can help you kill your writing blocks by forcing you to make progress because it deletes words if you stop writing for too long.


2. Rest for few days

If you are working on a big writing project, it is very important to put the work aside for a couple of days in order to recover your inspirational levels. You can allow yourself to do that if you make the effort to build extra time in your schedule and leave few days to let the work sit before you start with the editing process.

If you are working on a novel, then you need to put it aside for longer, at least one week before you can look at it with editing eyes. During that period of time, new ideas will come to your mind and you will find the missing pieces to fill the gaps.


3. Start with editing structure and content

Polishing up each and every sentence is not the right way to start editing your work. You should go with a more efficient strategy of looking at the big picture first. Locate the sections or chapters that need to be completely cut out from the work. There are always some parts that seen too tangent to the main point or too advanced for the piece you are writing. Make sure to detach yourself and leave them out. Find the parts that seem incomplete and add the missing information. Some sections or scenes will need to be radically revised, so make sure to work on them with extra effort. These major editing steps need to be done before you start polishing the individual sentences.


4. Use a different format to read through the material

Turning the piece into a different format is a well-known trick that can help the writers to spot certain mistakes or problems more easily. For example, if you are working on an important blog post – make sure to print out the writing before you edit it and you will spot the mistakes more efficiently. If you have a novel manuscript that needs to be edited, you can transfer it onto an e-reading device and look at it from a different perspective.
This strategy will help you notice issues that were “hidden” in the initial draft version, such as glaring typos or paragraphs that are too long or too short.


5. The spell-check is not omnipotent

Many writers make the rookie mistake of relying solely to the spell-check system. You cannot rely on Word to catch every one of your mistakes; you have to use your own proofreading skills as well. Some errors slip through the spell-check, which usually happens with missing words and homophones.


6. The 10% editing rule

Once the shape and flow of your writing seem good to you, the time for editing out has come. Overwriting is a common problem for writers. You don’t have to use too many words, because they weaken the main argument and dilute the story. Cutting 10% of the word count is a very efficient strategy that will help you get rid of repetitive phrases, unnecessary adjectives and pretentious phrases.


7. Read slowly or backwards

Proofreading your own writing is never easy because you are so familiar with it, that the mistakes become unnoticeable. Reading backwards is an editing trick used by many writers. If it seems too weird to read the text backwards, you can try reading it very slowly in an enlarged format that doesn’t show too many words on the screen.


8. Finally: let it go!

Editing can be a vicious circle for some writers. You have to stop at one point and decide that you are ready to put your work in front of the eyes of the world. Writers never feel entirely confident about their work, thinking that they can always do better. However, you have to eventually publish your piece, because perfection in writing is almost unachievable.

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