by Jennifer Scott, guest blogger
As a writer, it can feel hard editing your own writing. You’re close to your own text, so how can you ensure you’re getting it right?
Here are 9 tips to help you edit your own writing effectively and make it the best it can be.
- Take A Break
First of all, take a step back from your manuscript. You’ve worked hard on it, so you deserve a break. Give it a week or two, and then come back to it. It’s much easier to be objective once you’ve taken your time and then come back to your writing.
- Read The Whole Thing Through Once
Book editor Janelle Green from Top Canadian Writers says, “Before you do anything, read the whole manuscript through once. It’s tempting to start getting right in there and making changes, but in fact you can be making things harder for yourself.” Read the whole thing through and make notes. Come at it from the perspective of a reader before you start editing.
- Chop Down Sentences
Take a look at the sentences in your work. Some of them will be longer, although not exactly run-on sentences. If you can, cut them down into shorter sentences. A long sentence can contain a couple of different ideas, and it’s easy to lose the reader if there’s too much going on.
- Don’t Rely On Spell Check
Spell check is a handy feature when you’re editing, but you can’t rely on it to catch everything. It’s fallible, just like any other editing software, and can miss errors if they don’t show up as incorrect. Use it by all means, but then follow with a manual check to look for any errors you’ve made.
- Read It Backwards
When you’re looking for technical errors in your writing, read it backwards. This way, you’ll be more likely to spot issues rather than be distracted with how the piece reads. You’d be amazed at how much this simple tip works.
- Don’t Forget The Grammar
No matter how experienced you are at writing, your grammar should always come under scrutiny when you’re proofreading. It’s easy to misunderstand a rule of grammar and create sections of text that need revision. If you’re struggling with this, don’t worry; there’s lots of help. Try the following sites:
- Via Writing
- Best Australian Writers
- Easy Word Count
- State Of Writing
- Cite It In
- Ruthless Editor
- Watch Your Tone
The tone of your manuscript is important. If you’re writing a how-to text, a more straightforward approach is needed. If it’s a comedy book, of course inject more personality into it. Take a look at your tone and ensure it’s consistent.
- Read It Aloud
The best way to ensure your prose flows is to read it aloud. You’ll be able to see how your writing sounds to a first-time reader and make changes as needed.
- Get Help If You Need It
If you find it hard to edit your own writing, plenty of services are available to help. The Huffington Post in its “Write My Essay” feature explains why editing and writing services are more valuable than ever.
Use these 9 tips the next time you’re editing. You’ll be amazed at how much you can polish your writing before sending your manuscript to an editor.
Jennifer Scott works as online editor at Best British Essays (https://bestbritishessays.com/). Also, she is a business developer who works in education, technology, security, and online marketing.