5 Quick Self-Editing Tips
Have you ever read something you wrote and wondered, “What was I thinking?? Did I really think that sounded good?”
For me, late-night sessions, tight deadlines and too much caffeine create a bad combination that leads to sloppy, meandering writing.
The truth is, bad copy happens to even the best writers at some point. The goal is to catch that less-than-stellar writing before it’s published.
Prior to clicking on “send” or “publish,” set your article or manuscript aside. Wait a day or two (at a minimum) so you can read it with fresh eyes.
When you self-edit your work, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Watch for repetition. Avoid using the same word twice in a sentence or paragraph.
- Avoid starting sentences with this or that. Words like this, these, and that can be ambiguous and cause confusion for the reader.
- Avoid starting sentences with the word there. Rework the sentence to make it more powerful and interesting.
- Limit “to be” verbs to a minimum. Am, is, are, was, were, be, been and being may be impossible to eliminate entirely, but your writing will be stronger without them.
- Use complete, well-ordered sentences. We speak differently than we read and write. If you wrote using a transcription, some thoughts may be incomplete or circuitous.
What is your go-to editing tip? Share your advice in the comments below.
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