Let’s face it–we’re all busy. If you wanted a book on how to edit, I could recommend some. But if you do not have time to read a book, I have three quick editing tips that can help you.
Many writers and editors use this trick. Here?s why it works. In an ideal world, you could put your work aside for several weeks, come back to it, and spot things that need fixing.
In the real world, you have a deadline, and you want to be finished with it and move on. Subconsciously, your brain will cause you to overlook mistakes to help you finish.
Reading backwards prevents your brain from rereading your writing on autopilot.
2–Don?t hesitate to use editing tools.
Granted, they are less than perfect. You will still need to look at each suggestion and decide whether to accept it or not. But when you use them, you are reading your writing out of order.
I always run two checks–one through Word and the other through the pro version of Grammarly. Word?s is limited, but it gives me a readability and passive sentences score. I ignore 50% of Grammarly?s suggestions, but the others help me.
From my experience, the free version of Grammarly is useless. As an editor I have asked writers if they did a grammar check before sending their writing to me. Several told me they had used Grammarly. Then I asked if they used the free or paid version. Every writer who required major editing had used the free version.
3–Meet in the Middle When Writing
At first this might not seem like an editing tip, but striking a balance between writing non-stop and writing slowly is important. Instead of writing slowly hoping you won’t be able to catch your mistakes, meet in the middle. Keep an eye out for those mistakes that you make regularly and can be quickly fixed.
I tend to put commas before and even when the two clauses are not independent, so I keep that in mind. I also have a tendency tend to use the passive structure, and it?s easier to fix it on the fly then look for it later.
In a Nutshell–Editing Tips
Next time you need to edit, try these three editing tips. And start with the most important one:
Contact us at Steve Ayers Wordsmith if you need editing services.