Edit with a red pen so it's clear on the page

Editing Tips

The process of editing your work can be challenging, but unfortunately, it is one of the necessary evils of writing. However, the good news is that the more you do it, the more proficient you become.
     I don’t mean to imply that it’s ever a breeze, because it’s not; editing is hard work, but it’s worth persevering with and sharpening your skills.

Below you’ll find five tips to help make your self-editing sessions go as smoothly as possible!

1 – Take a Break
When you’ve finished your first draft or any draft for that matter, It’s a good idea to put it in a drawer or a folder somewhere and take a break from it; just let it sit and breathe for a bit while you go off and work on something else, or relax a little. When you come back, you will have fresh eyes, a refreshed perspective and you’ll be able to spot errors more easily because you’re no longer fully immersed in the project. It’s a bit like not being able to see the woods for the trees when you’re entrenched in your work.

2 – Prepare
When you’re ready to actually sit down and go over your project with a fine-toothed comb, make sure that you set aside a good chunk of time without distractions. Editing sessions are gruelling and long, and the last thing you want is to make it longer by having to check facebook or twitter every time your phone chirps. Make sure you allow yourself the time to do a thorough job and don’t rush it.

3 – Remember, Dictionaries are your Friend
Having a dictionary to hand is essential when you’re editing, especially if you’ve left your phone in another room to avoid distractions. These days, a phone is the go-to gadget for looking up words, but a good old fashioned dictionary is just as good, and while you’re at it, a thesaurus can be a lifesaver too.

4 – Read Backwards
You might scrunch your face up at this one and it does sound like an odd thing to do, however, reading backwards is an excellent way to spot spelling mistakes; since your brain won’t be busy absorbing and sorting information from full sentences, it will be free to detect even the smallest of spelling errors. Try it, and you’ll be surprised by how many mistakes you find.

5 – Read Aloud
Reading aloud is a great way to tell if your story, article or other writing projects read the way you want them to. It’s also good for seeing if dialogue sounds realistic and whether or not you’re missing any punctuation. Some word processors even have a text to speech function, but nothing beats reading your work to a carefully selected audience of cats and/or dogs, they make excellent listeners!

As always, thank you so much for reading my words, I really do appreciate your time.

Until next time,

George

© 2018 GLT

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