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How to Edit Your Own Writing {Guest Post}

Are you a writer? Hoping to be in the future? Here are some tips about editing your writing from Sandra Miller!
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Sandra Miller is a freelance writer, lives in New York. Two times a year watches Friends sitcom, loves salsa. Uses editing service to write great material. Her passion is Latin American culture.

Learn how to edit your own work through eight
simple tips
There
are many factors that separate good writers from mediocre ones, and the quality
of their editing is definitely one of those factors. Writers who are working
for big publishing houses or magazines have their work edited by professional
editors, but if you have no one else to correct your clumsy sentences, you will
have to learn how to edit your own work.
Editing
your own work is a difficult process that causes many writers to skip it
altogether – they simply hate it! However, you can learn how to bring yourself
a step further towards becoming a great writer by implementing our eight simple
editing tips.

1. Don’t edit during writing

If
you are writer, you know that stopping the writing process in the middle of the
thought for any reason can create a blockage. We don’t recommend you to stop
writing with the purpose of editing the sentences you have already written. It
is allowed to restart some sentences or correct the typos when you notice them during
writing, but make sure not to go back in order to rewrite entire paragraphs or
sentences. Don’t put boundaries on your creative thought and let it flow; the
editing process can take place later.

2. Allow yourself some time aside

The
most effective tip for editing is to let your work sit for few days before you
start correcting its weak points. If you are writing short pieces for magazines
or blogs, then a few hours away from your work will be enough before you go
back to it with a fresh mind. However, you will have to put the work aside for
at least a weak if it’s an entire novel we are talking about. This will allow
you to see your work as a reader, not as a writer. When you come back to it,
you will easily spot the problems in characterization, plot holes, missing
information or ill-fitting chapters.

3. Read the writing in a another format

Converting
the material into another format is a very effective way to spot the mistakes
and problems that you were unable to identify in the original format. For example,
it is recommended to print a novel manuscript or transfer it onto an e-reading
device for a more effective editing view; or use the preview option of your blog platform in order to see how your post
will look like when published. This way you will notice some issues that
weren’t visible for you before.

4. The most effective editing rule: cut out
10% of the writing

Many
renowned and established writers practice this simple, yet effective rule of
self-editing: cut down 10% of the entire word count. It’s no secret that most
writers are prone to using unnecessary words that weaken their arguments and
dilute the story. There is no need to repeat the same point more than once and
there is no need for excessive usage of adjectives. Cut them all out and your
writing will become much cleaner and more effective.

5. Pay attention to structure and content

The
best way to start editing your work is by paying attention to its structure and
content first. Look at the big picture and make it perfect. If you have written
a novel manuscript, some of its sections or chapters will need to be cut out or
rewritten. You will also find some gaps in the story and you’ll need to add the
missing information; and there will be some sections and scenes that will
require radical improvements. After you are done with these major rewrites,
additions and cuts, you can go on with the editing process by polishing the
words, phrases and sentences.

6. Spell-Check tools are effective, but use
your eyes too!

Yes,
the work should always be checked with a spell-check tool, but that doesn’t
mean that you should rely on it entirely. The spell-checker can commonly
oversee some errors, which can be corrected only with careful proofreading.

7. Read your work backwards

Writers
have always had difficulties with proofreading their own work, which is why
they have come up with some weird techniques of editing. Although reading the
written work backwards sounds strange, it is a surprisingly effective editing
trick that will allow you to notice the mistakes that were sliding past you.
If
this editing technique doesn’t work for you, then you should try reading your
piece really slowly. This way you will be able to pay attention to every single
word and make the necessary corrections.

8. Stop at the right moment

Editing
your own work can be turned into a never-ending task of striving for
perfection. As a writer, you may never be completely satisfied by the work, but
you will have to eventually stop with the editing process at some point. The
moment you find yourself obsessing over a comma or a single word, taking it out
and then putting it back in, is the moment when you must realize that your
editing work is done.

Even
if some imperfections slip through your careful eye, you will still have more
use from a published piece than from a material that is subjected to an endless
process of editing and reconsiderations.   

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  • These are some awesome tips. I'll definitely be referencing this when I finish the first draft of my book.

  • Great tips!! I used to be such a perfectionist that I couldn't get anything done. I'm learning to just throw the words on paper and worry about going back to clean it up later. I definitely do have to step away from my work sometimes. It gets to the point where I can't look at it anymore and need to come back with a fresh brain. The editing process feels never ending the longer my novel gets but I will definitely be really glad once the story is done and I can just focus on refining.