In this blog, I want to talk about editing, why it is so hard at times and why it is so necessary. I will also be sharing with my favourite lessons I have learned through trial and error when it comes to editing.
Editing isn’t easy
First of all, it’s hard it is to edit your own work.
Especially if it’s something you’ve spent a lot of time working on recently. The internet offers a lot of real help, there are lots of people willing to depart their wisdom. However, while some practices work for some people, they won’t work for others and not all of the advice and help I have been given over the years has worked for me. I have also found that because there was so much advice and help (what a lovely problem to have) I can’t keep it all in my head while editing. I have also found that because there is so much advice and help (what a lovely problem to have) I can’t keep it all in my head while editing.
So, I have whittled the advice that works for me down to a few gems to pay them forward in the hope that it would be useful to others in my situation.
Print it out and read it
This is what I call a paper edit. I print out the document I want to edit and physically hold it in my hand and have a pen in the other. I’m not sure why this works, but this really helps me. I see mistakes on paper that I would have missed on-screen.
Take your time
This sounds basic I know, but it is true. If you try to do too much at once, you will have a meltdown and your edit will become clumsy. You will miss things, and your finished document will suffer as a result.
Read it out loud
This is another idea that sounds simple but is very effective. Find a quiet spot and read your document aloud. What looks good in your head can sound clumsy and clunky coming from your mouth.
Use a spell checker and grammar checker.
Spelling errors will still slip through, trust me on this, in the fight of Dyslexia V Spell checker Dyslexia will win every time. Spell checkers are damage control though and will improve the quality of your work immensely. I find Grammarly works wonderfully, and it’s FREE.
Don’t proof for every type of mistake at once.
This ties into the take your time tip. Do not try to do too much at once, you will either drive yourself mental, or you will miss 60% + of the mistakes.
In conclusion, paper editing is easier than screen editing, it’s incredible the things you’ll pick up that you would have missed otherwise. Taking your time is key, a rushed edit is a sloppy edit, which is also why you shouldn’t edit with the view of spotting every single mistake in one go, several edits will be needed. Reading aloud can help you notice clunky sentences and poor dialogue. Lastly, a spell checker is a gift from God, get a good one and let it do a lot of the legwork for you!
Well, those are my personal favourite tips on how to do a big edit, I hope you find them helpful and please share if you’ve got your own tips and tricks that are not listed.
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