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Editing your own writing

Updated: Jun 14

As much as having a second pair of eyes (such as an editor or beta reader) look and edit your work is important, before you show anyone your work, it's important to complete a self edit to ensure you're fully finished writing and there's no more changes you want to make.

As a writer, it's really useful to be able to edit your own work. However, it can be hard, therefore I thought today I'd share some of my tips for when it comes to self- editing.

A Fresh Pair of Eyes

Give yourself a break from the screen before editing your work. It's so important to distance yourself before going back to it. I personally give myself at least 12 hours away from my work before editing it. This gives your brain a bit of a refresh, allows you to forget what you've written a little and that can make it a lot easier to highlight the errors in your writing.

Read Out Loud

This allows you to not only read your work but to hear it too. This technique is great for showing any errors in your writing that you haven't noticed. If I could only recommend one technique, it would be this one. It let's you rely more on some of your other senses and not just your eyes.

Two Separate Spaces

Some people like to think of writing and editing separately and for that they have different spaces for both. I think this is a great idea, especially if you have the capacity to do so. While I was writing my dissertation, I would sit on my bed to write and at my desk to edit. Although it doesn't seem like much, it did make a difference to me. I think it helps create a different mindset for each role.

A Different Format

This is where you write on a screen and edit on paper. This is a really popular technique and in an ideal world, it works really well. I know that I prefer to edit on paper. However, this isn't great for the environment, if I did all my editing on paper I think I would take down a whole forest. Therefore, if this is something that works for you, perhaps considering only doing this on final edits? An alternative to this could be writing on your laptop and editing on tablet? Sometimes a small difference like that can really help.

Double Space

Whenever I'm editing, I change the text to double spacing. This can be really helpful as it stops that feeling that the lines are all merging into one. When you've been staring at a screen for so long, double spacing can really help by giving you some more space and decrease that intense feeling of having so many words in front of you.

And as always, I wouldn't be an editor if I didn't say it. It's always a good idea to get a second pair of eyes on your work. After working on a piece, you want it to be the best quality it can be, and an editor can help with that. If you need a second pair of eyes, it's important that you work out whether you need an edit or a proofread.


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