How to Edit Your Own Writing

Every good writer needs a good editor. The skills required for each are usually contradictory, though. Writing requires creativity whereas editing demands critiquing what has already been created.

Sometimes it works well for a writer to also serve as his or her own editor, though it’s nearly impossible to do both simultaneously.

My daughter is a strong communicator and often edits my blog posts. Recently she suggested this topic, and she even emailed me the following tips on how to edit your own writing:

  1. Give yourself time to write and then revisit it later. With fresh eyes and a new perspective, it’s usually easier to reword or rewrite the rough draft of your earlier writing.
  2. Read and then reread. Skim the draft to get your overall reaction to the coherence and flow of the writing. Once it reads the way you want, then go back and edit for spelling and grammar.
  3. Read your writing aloud. Words sound different when read out loud. Make sure your writing has a certain rhythm and melody.
  4. Read your writing from the reader’s perspective. When read through the lens of your target audience, does your idea make sense? Is it relevant? In a world full of distractions, is it even interesting?
  5. Have someone else edit your work. Two minds can collaborate and create something that neither can do as effectively on his or her own.

That’s what my daughter and I did on this post. We both wrote and we both edited. Thanks, Jennifer.

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