After writing over 330 posts during the last year, some with slightly more spelling mistakes than I would like, I was approached by Sandra who wanted to share her tips on editing your own work.
Given that communication is key to leadership I thought that I would share this topic.
Tips in Editing your Own Work
Now that you’re through with the writing part, you are confronted again by a tougher challenge – editing your own work. While editing other people’s work is difficult, revamping your own work is harder since it is your own piece of art. Also, you already develop a connection between your work and the subject you are writing about. Plus, you are capable of making mistakes too, which you would not want to admit.
Nonetheless, everyone needs some checking, including you and your work. Even the professional and most skilled writers have their works edited as well. To help you go through the process, here are tips that will help you when editing your own work.
Write first and save the editing for later. You should never combine different processes at a time when writing, As much as possible, finish your work first and don’t mind the errors yet. There’s a time to keep everything organized and that’s under the editing process.
Take a break first. Once you’re through writing, step away for a while before you start the editing process. This will help you refresh your mind for a few minutes and gives you a fresh start and a more relaxed mind which will help make editing more effective.
Change the way your paper looks. Imagine if you’re in front of your laptop the whole day, writing and finishing the work – that can really be exhausting. When you start to edit, change the format, either by printing it or transferring it in your tablet or changing the font and its size. This will make it easier for you to detect any errors in your work.
Choose a different location. If you spent the 5 hours in your room writing your paper, then editing your work shall be done in a different place besides your bedroom. Surprisingly, changing your location when editing your work can make a big difference.
Read everything first. Before you edit, make sure to read the entire work first and control yourself from making any corrections, yet, when you spot an error. Once you went through the bigger picture, it will be easier for you to make some changes in your work.
Work on the bigger picture first. Once you’ve read through your work, determine which paragraphs or sentences should be eliminated. Check whether you presented enough information or is there a need to add more data to back up your claim. Also, make sure that the flow of your sentences and paragraphs are smooth. Don’t work into details yet.
Polish every sentence. Once you reduced the number of words in your work, it’s time to check every sentence and word you used. This time, make sure that everything is in its correct style, spelling, grammar and punctuation and transform your sentences into an active voice.
Spell check. Although spell checkers are not recommended, you can still use this to check any errors in your sentence. However, don’t rely on spell check too much and check first whether the suggestions made make sense or not.
Reread and read it out loud. As soon as you’re done editing, reread your work and see if you’ve missed out on anything. You can change the format or move in a different location if it will help. Also, read your work out loud. This way, you’ll easily determine whether something is wrong in case something doesn’t make sense.
Editing your own work can be difficult but not impossible. The key to self-editing is to keep an open mind and accept any mistakes made when writing your work and you’ll eventually submit a quality one.