When you type in the last word of that manuscript or article, you sigh with relief. The writing is done. Another phase begins. Editing. This is another chapter of work that is important to give your piece of work the finishing touch. Editing is important else reading wouldn’t be fun. Here are ten ways to edit your writing like a pro.
- Read Aloud
Reading aloud what you have written will help you take note of errors. Hearing the words and phrases makes it easier to identify mistakes you skipped while reading silently. It’s helpful to record yourself reading, then listen to it and mark up your work. Saying the words aloud gives a different perspective to your editing.
- Take a Break
Take some time away from your writing. You’ve poured a lot of thought onto paper, it’s time to take a break. Do something different. Engage in an activity that will take your mind off your writing. Play, cook, meet up with some friends and relax. Come back to your work after a few days and take a fresh look at what you have written. Your work will seem new but also familiar. Most importantly, you will be refreshed and your mind will be able to easily point out errors.
- Use simple familiar words
Avoid using big words because you want to make a point. Words and phrases that are understandable and easy for the eyes to go over will help the reader get the message you are passing across. Complicated or long sentences will easily distract the reader. Keep it simple, keep them hooked. Edit those extra words out.
- Check your Punctuation
This is a major task in editing your work. Wrong punctuation will cause your reader a lot of problems. Be mindful of the use of comma. Don’t over use them in long sentences. Punctuation changes the perception of the whole sentence. Use shorter sentences instead. Check your apostrophes and quotation marks. Punctuation errors disfigure your work. Be mindful.
- Use apps
Thank you, technology. Writers have many useful resources at their disposal for editing their work. Use suitable apps like Grammarly to help edit your work. These apps are designed to point out grammatical errors, overused words and spelling mistakes. They are helpful and easy to use.
- Remove Redundancies
This is an easy trap for any writer. Avoid unnecessary repetition.
e.g. He kicked with his legs repeatedly.
He kicked repeatedly
He blinked his eyes
- Use a Different Format
Editing with the font Courier New is easy on the eyes. Seeing each word and spotting errors is easier this way. If you don’t like the font, use one that is similar and suits you. Change the line spacing too. Give the words room to stand alone. Punctuation errors are easily seen and the whole piece is easier to read.
- Print it Out.
Print your work and patiently read through. Use your pen to strike through errors. Don’t hesitate to mark up your work. Indicate areas you want to rephrase, circle areas you are unsure about. Dissect your writing with your pen. The spacing gives enough room to make adjustments.
- Edit in a Quiet Place
Stay away from distractions when editing your work. Ensure you are concentrating as much as possible. Don’t multi task while editing. Your work will thank you. Focus on making your work better before doing other tasks.
- Re-read it
Editing isn’t over once you have read through. You need to read it over again and again until it is polished. Re-reading will help you find weak sentences and other errors you may have missed the first time.
Now get to work and let’s see those flawless pieces.