Contrary to what some editors may tell you, you can improve the quality of your writing without hiring a professional. Did I really just say that?! Yup, I really did!
While your edits may not be as thorough and detail-oriented as they would be with a professional editor, it's absolutely possible for you to make a positive impact on your writing and come away with a cleaner draft than before.
Below are 3 of my top tips for self-editing your writing like a pro.
1. Focus on one sentence/paragraph at a time.
Instead of trying to tackle your draft as a whole, focus on making sure each sentence and/or paragraph is grammatically correct. Taking your editing one small step at a time will keep you from missing the little things, like writing "hte" instead of "the" or missing a word in your sentence. Plus, looking at your project as a whole can be pretty daunting, and seeing how much work you have ahead of you can quickly discourage you from getting started. Start small and see big results!
2. Read out loud and slowly.
There's something about reading out loud that changes the way our brain sees a sequence of words. When you take your time to really read and sound out each and every word individually, you increase your chances of being able to pinpoint parts of your sentences/paragraphs that sound awkward or clunky. These errors will jump right off the page!
3. Don’t edit what you’ve just written.
Take some time away from your work if you can! If you're attempting to write up a time-sensitive email response, then you probably don't have the luxury of stepping away from it for a couple minutes. In that case, just complete steps 1 & 2, and you should be fine. But for any long-form writing, like books, blog posts, or social media captions, taking the time to step away from your work for a bit will allow you to come back with a fresh pair of eyes that can easily spot errors. It's amazing what you'll find once you reopen your document and read it after a break.
Now that you have these pro self-editing tips under your belt, you can conquer any writing project that comes your way! Be patient with yourself, though, if little errors slip through the cracks despite it all. Developing your writing and editing skills does not happen overnight; it requires practice and a strong understanding of grammar and punctuation rules.
The good news is: If you're still unhappy with the quality of your writing after your self-edits or you simply don't have the time to go through your work so meticulously, there are plenty of editors who would love to help you out (*enthusiastically points to myself*)!
What methods do you use to make sure your writing is immaculate?
Let me know in the comment section!
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