5 tips for Friday on editing your own writing

09 Aug2013
by Deborah Brody, posted in Writing   |  6 Comments

I think having themes like 5 tips for Friday is a great way to keep you blogging, and I suggest that in my blogging workshops. I saw somebody’s 5 tips today, and I thought I would try my hand at it.

As a writer, I have to edit my own work. Truth is,  it is far easier to edit other people’s work. You very rarely see your own mistakes right away–be it typos or more serious errors.

Here are five tips to make sure you present the best piece of writing you can:

1. Take a break between writing and editing. A few hours will do, but a whole day, if possible, is better.

2. Read it out loud. Your ears may “see” mistakes that your eyes don’t.

3. Pay attention to homonyms (words that sound the same like than and then and their and there). Are you using the right word?

4. Go back and cut out ten words per page. Excess words often clutter your meaning.

5. Make sure most (if not all) sentences are in active voice. If they aren’t, change them.

What is your best tip for editing your own writing? Please share in the comments.

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About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.

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6 Responses to 5 tips for Friday on editing your own writing

  1. Nicole

    I find it helps to read your piece backwards- starting from the last paragraph to the top- it sets a different frame for your own words.

    great tips, thanks! :)

  2. Deborah Brody

    Hi Nicole,
    Thank you! What an interesting tip. It is important to make sure your flow is good.
    Deborah

  3. You can also save yourself some editing headache by passing it to a friend, teacher, wife or group to look at it for you.

  4. Deborah Brody

    Hi Ibrahim,
    Certainly, it is always best to have someone else look at your writing, but sometimes that is not possible. That’s the point of having ways of checking your own stuff.
    Thanks for your comment,
    Deborah

  5. Nicole is one smart woman; I do that all the time, even sometimes flipping the beginning and end paragraphs. The conclusion we build towards, sometimes it’s a much better attention getter and will make a strong point as an opening that draws readers into the post or story. Edit, reviewing and taking the break are musts; reading other things in between may also help you come at something with fresh eyes.

    Let’s see. I let things sit, and I think about how people read: they scan. They read the heads, the pullout quotes, the captions. I look at the transitions and section breaks, I think about the graphics and how all that goes into it, how the bolded and bulleted parts are more likely to get read; so I make sure that’s where to make my points. FWIW.

    • Deborah Brody

      Hi Davina,
      Isn’t great that we can change whole paragraphs around with a couple of clicks? Can you imagine what editing must have been like back in the pre-word processor days? Finding a punchy sentence or paragraph is a great tip.
      Thanks!
      Deborah

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