Ask any writer
and they will tell you that they will forever
find something to change in their writing.
You reach a point where you just have to send it on and cross your fingers
, otherwise you will forever be rewriting
the same piece.
Some might call it editing
; others call it rewriting and fussing
It is important
for a writer to be able to edit their own writing even if they have an editor. Having some editing skills in your toolbelt
might be the best way to save yourself from endless rewriting
. Don't move, because media update's Alrika Möller provides some tips and tricks for editing your own writing below.
Create a checklist
are not editors by trade, so it helps to create a checklist
of what you want to look for. Every writer has the thing
they want to look for or address. Whether it is something that comes up in most of the feedback
you receive, or a writing pet peeve
you want to avoid, adding it to your list
can remind you to keep an eye out.
If you are a more creative writer
, you can sometimes fall into the trap of focusing on the creativity
of it all and forget that grammar and spelling exist. It's okay
— we have all been there, which is why you add spelling and grammar to the checklist
Decide on the voice
No matter what kind of writing you are doing — academic or creative
— your writing will have a voice
We can sometimes find ourselves jumping
from one voice to another within the same piece
. You start writing in one voice, and halfway through or after your coffee break
it sounds like a whole other person. This is why we decide on an overall voice.
While deciding on one before
you even start writing sounds like a good idea
, we all know how things can change as you go
. This is why we commit to an overall voice when editing
. If you need a little reminder, it can help to write it down
Fresh eyes can help
an editing process more than editing the moment
you finish writing. Your mind is not clear, and some of the words and images are still floating around in there
, clouding clear judgement.
Take the time to clear your mind
so that you don't read every word, knowing exactly what will come next
. That is about the least objective thing you can possibly do.
Take a walk or go get a coffee. Start writing something else entirely
, or put the project on pause
until the next morning. You can do whatever you need to do to start anew
and look at it with fresh eyes
and a clear, hopefully, objective mind
Take it line by line
We get that your piece is all about the big picture
and how it all works as a whole;
but when editing, that way of thinking is not always
the best. The person reading it at the end probably
won't have the big picture. They will read it line by line
, which is ultimately
how you should edit.
Working line by line is also a great
way to find those pesky
grammar errors or spelling mistakes. Editing your work is not about changing
what you are saying but rather making sure that it reads easily and correctly
Be open to digital tools
writers can be a bit sceptical
when it comes to digital and AI tools
, but the truth is that you have nothing
to be scared of. As long as you use it in the right way
, you don't have to worry about a programme taking your job
or changing your content.
There are a great number of tools that can help
you edit — whether it is a programme that will look for spelling and grammar mistakes so that you don't have to or just using a tool to simplify
a 100-word sentence.
Programmes such as Grammarly
and so many others are all about fine-tuning and helping
. So take a chance and give digital tools a try
Editing becomes extra difficult when you are editing your own work. Do you agree? Let us know in the comment section below.
*Image courtesy of Canva