Editing Secrets for Non-Editors

Editing Secrets for Non-EditorsIn a perfect world, editing and writing would go hand-in-hand. But, the world is not perfect, and while some are strong writers, they abhor editing. Don’t worry, I understand. Editing is a pain. It means rehashing words that you have already written, and looking at passages that you wrote and wondering what you were thinking.

It’s a long process that can take multiple passes before even being ready to be passed off to an editor, whether professional or not.

But there are some tricks that you, as a writer, can use to clean up your first draft, making it easier for both yourself and someone else to go through. Wondering what they may be? Follow along below.

Make a number rule. What is a number rule? It’s when you decide which numbers you will spell out, and which you will write as numbers. For example, 1-10 then eleven and up. Or, 1-99 and one hundred and up. Be consistent about your choices and remember to make exceptions such as for years (1977).

Pick a side in the Oxford comma debate. To use them or not to use them, that is the question. Pick whichever you prefer and stick with it.

Watch your spellings. Are you using American, Canadian, or UK English? It’s the hardest for Canadians, since we use a mixture of the other two, and deem variations to be acceptable.

Make notes. If you mention that someone in chapter two has red hair, they better still have red hair (or a backstory) later in the story. Is someone tall, or short, or do they have traits worth mentioning? Keep notes so that your characters and settings make sense throughout.

Research. If you are introducing, for example, an android, into your story, you better make sure that you actually know what that is. Or, if your saying that someone rode a horse from one place to another in so many days, make sure the timeline makes sense. It doesn’t take much to Google a question or two.

Names. If you’re making up names as you go, keep a list of them and their spellings. For example, if you’re naming someone Bartram VanHoutenstein of the Agarentia Valley, are you going to remember exactly how to spell it every time? Or who his brothers or sisters or children are? Maybe not. Make a note of capitalization as well.

Edit like it’s a puzzle. It’s hard to sit down and edit a whole story at once, so break it up into pieces, but don’t forget to keep in mind that you are also editing the story as a whole. You should never edit a chapter at a time and then assume that you are done. Each piece fits into a bigger puzzle.

The above tips are used by professional editors, but combine tricks from both copyediting and fiction editing. What type of editor you choose will affect the type of input you receive at the end, but if you do your best to hand off a clear, clean, and learned manuscript, your editor can focus more on the strengths and weaknesses of your content as a whole instead of becoming distracted by small typos and errors.

Do you use any of these tips? What others would you add?

I’ll be on Facebook until next time.

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Self-Editing Tips

Self-Editing TipsA lot of us edit our own work. Sometimes we are the only ones who edit it, and other times, we edit it ourselves over and over before sending it out to someone else for review. The problem with self-editing is that not many who do it are actually trained in editing, so knowing what to look for can be difficult and time consuming.

So, as an editor and writer, I’d like to share some tips and tricks with you so that you can edit more efficiently, or even create a better product.

    1. Become familiar with “Track Changes” in Microsoft Word. This is an editing function that allows for inline edits, inserted comments, and formatting changes. When going over a draft, or having someone else go over one for you, use it. You won’t regret it.
    2. Use “ctrl f”. When you press ctrl and then f, it opens up a search box that will search the text on your page for whatever you’d like. This is especially helpful if you change a name, consistently spell something incorrectly, or know that you made a mistake somewhere. Find it, fix it, and move on.
    3. Use a standard format. That means stick with a regular sized font, double space, and ad page numbers from the very start. It makes editing easier, and whoever you send it to afterwards will love you for it.
    4. Read it out loud. Hearing things can really help you to figure out where there’s any awkward wording or jumpy transitions. If it sounds strange to you when you say it, it needs to be reworked. It can also help in catching small spelling and grammar errors because your eyes won’t just move over them.
    5. Be hard on yourself. If you feel deep down that a passage isn’t working, don’t leave it as is. Work on it until you are satisfied. Spend as much time as you need to make each word fit together.
    6. Don’t expect other people to fix your work. Before you send your work to someone else, it should be the best you think it can be. Don’t send something knowing there are errors or weak sections in it. Polish and smooth your work before handing it off.
    7. If, when editing, you find an issue that you don’t know how to fix, but don’t have time to look into it, mark it with a comment. Go back to it when you have time instead of putting a band-aid on it.

Editing is hard. Whether you are doing it yourself, or having someone else do it for you, it hurts. It’s a long process that can make you feel self-conscious and vulnerable, but ultimately it makes your story better.

It’s important to stick with clarity and consistency while you are writing, so that the editing process is easier later on. Remember to use a thesaurus, avoid repetition, and acknowledge your faults and weaknesses as a writer. Doing so will help you to create a strong piece of writing that comes through the editing process with a lot less red.

What are your self-editing tips? How did you learn to self-edit effectively? Are you comfortable with editing your own work or that of others?

I’ll be on Facebook until next time.

Content: Quality vs Quantity

Content: Quality vs QuantityI’ve talked about setting writing goals a number of times on this blog, and if you’ve read any of those posts, you’ll know that I don’t set any for myself. Some people need that push to get going, or to create anything at all, but I find that this type of writing is detrimental, at least to me.

Since I have skills and training in both editing and writing, my process is very different from many other writers that I know, both online and offline. I used to feel a bit discouraged by how quickly others would produce content, especially those that were able to write a story a week, or a manuscript or two every year. I couldn’t fathom how that was even possible, but that was before I understood how their processes went.

For many writers, their process is to come up with an idea, write a story, and then work through the drafts. After this, they might send it to an editor, and then try to publish from there. By focusing on the story, and then worrying about the content alone, this scrapes mounds of time off of their process.

Mine goes very differently. First, once I have an idea, I follow it to its conclusion in my head prior to writing anything down. This can take months. But to me, to actually be worth sitting down and typing, an idea must meet my standards. If it doesn’t, I keep it in my brain until its aged to my satisfaction.

From there, I start to write. I write until I come to a question, such as something I hadn’t thought of, or how to end a scene. Then again, I take a step back for awhile and let it stew. When I do have a solution, before I even begin to fix it, I read the story from the beginning again and edit as I go. I do this every time I re-open the document, so that during every pass, I take care of another error or I smooth out a few bumps.

Writing fiction takes me a long time (non-fiction not so much). When writing even the first draft, I spend time choosing the perfect adjectives, the right speech tags, and removing anything that isn’t exactly how I want it to be.

By the time I am ready to type “The End”, the content is quite ready for submissions, though I like to have it reviewed by at least one or two others prior to sending it anywhere.

It can take a year for me to write a piece of flash fiction (without a prompt or a competition). If I am writing something completely from my own inspiration, I like to take my time so that I can produce quality work. I’m not overly concerned about quantity, since if I were to write too much more, I doubt that I would be satisfied with what I was creating.

So, when perusing through the countless writing websites and blogs and articles out there, don’t let any of them get you don’t. If your strengths can be found in generating idea after idea, excellent! And if your skills are more geared towards focusing on one piece at a time, well that’s just jolly!

Writing isn’t really a “one size fits all” kind of thing. What works for one person won’t work for another. Some writers are just not great at spelling, others prefer collaboration or to be steered from outside sources. Some of us like to plan everything before we take pen to paper, while others feel their fingers aching for the keys as soon as they think of a new plot or character.

If you are one of those who leans more towards quantity than quality, I would recommend giving it a few passes yourself before handing it off to an editor (which you really should do) so that your work doesn’t suffer from being popped out too quickly.

And if you prefer quality, don’t let it keep you from working on more than one story at once, and try to participate in a few writing prompts now and then to exercise your creativity and spontaneity.

Are you more focused on quantity or quality? What is your writing process like? Where are your weaknesses and strengths when writing new pieces?

I’ll be on Facebook until next time.

Do Writers Need Editors?

Do Writers Need Editors?Often, I come across writers who exude confidence in their grammar and spelling abilities. When they speak of books that they are writing, and I ask whether they are going to hire an editor, most just chuckle and say, “No, no! I’ll just go over the draft myself a few times!”.

I know multiple authors who published work without having it edited, and who now have printed books with mistakes in them. It doesn’t seem to bother most, but some seem to regret it.

And while deciding not to have an editor works well for some, it can greatly affect the success and popularity of your content. Whether or not that bothers you depends on your goals as a writer. If you have a story inside of you that you are bursting to tell, and all that matters is that you release it into the world, then perhaps you don’t need an editor. That is, if you are confident that you can at least edit it enough yourself that it will at least be legible.

But if you want to submit something to a publisher, or if you want to self-publish something that has the potential to be successful, then you need an editor. I guess you could assume that if you are writing in the hopes of becoming a full-time, professional writer, you need to start vetting editors. Whereas, if you are writing simply for pleasure, you can continue doing as you see fit.

The difference between an edited piece of work compared to one that hasn’t been looked it can be quite significant. At my job, since I write content for an international audience, everything that I write is reviewed by another writer/editor before it goes live. Does she find many mistakes? To be honest, no, she doesn’t. But she does find a few. And she also offers a lot of great suggestions that improve my work.

For example, you know that one sentence that you just couldn’t figure out? That one that caused you a lot of grief and that you just ended up leaving as is? Yeah, another writer/editor will have suggestions for that. They’ll have ideas for titles, names, places, reconstructions, and more.

It’s dangerous as a writer to think that your work cannot be improved. I have heard of famous writers who sometimes have regrets over the final published manuscript. If you think your work is in its perfect form without being reviewed by at least one professional, you will never improve your craft. Your work will never be the best that it could be.

The key is to find someone like-minded. If you hire a trained editor, choose someone who has experience in your genre, and who can mesh with your style. Many editors will edit a few pages for you as a way to give you an idea of what they will do, as well as to figure out how heavy of an edit you’ll need. If you don’t like one editor’s style, try another.

And don’t use money as an excuse either. There are tons and tons of writers and editors out there looking to network. You can find them on social media, blogs, and in forums. They are often willing to exchange services, so if you can find someone who has skills where you don’t, and who is willing to look over your work for free, take advantage of it. Trade services if you need to, exchange work with writer friends, but never feel that your work is ready as soon as you write it.

Don’t spend time complaining about an edit if you didn’t spend time vetting someone. Take your time in selecting the perfect person to review your content, and don’t forget that you don’t have to accept any changes that you don’t want to. But also remember that by opening up your mind, and by looking at your work differently, you could wind up with so much more than you started with.

So, in conclusion, yes, if you are submitting content to publishers, or if you are writing in order to build a career, you should have your work reviewed. Will mistakes still get by sometimes? Yes. It happens. But fewer than you would have.

And if you are writing for a hobby, or just because you enjoy it, then I still suggest you review your own work before sending it out into the world. You’d be amazed at the things you’ll find.

Do you have someone review your work before you publish it? How important is it to you to have “correct” content? Would you hire an editor if you were submitting content to a publishing house?

I’ll be on Facebook until next time.

The Act of Writing

The Act of WritingThe other day, I was discussing different pieces that I have written with my manager. He asked me if some of the content I had written before (print articles for a bridal magazine) wasn’t more exciting than what I am writing now (law, real estate, business, finance, etc.). I had to think about it for a few moments.

Neither topic is really all that interesting to me, to be honest. I’ve never been much for flowers and dresses and so on, and my own wedding was quite a quiet affair. And law is more interesting to me in a way, but I am not writing about law for my own country. I generally write about US law. So, that doesn’t really teach me anything except that US law is terribly confusing.

While considering his question, I came to the conclusion that it isn’t the genre or topic that I enjoy when writing. It is the act of writing in and of itself. I don’t care as much for what the words are saying as how they are put together. I absolutely love reconstructing sentences and paragraphs to shape them into something that makes more sense or that flows more freely.

I suppose this is what happens when you take the skills of a writer and an editor and mash them together. For me, it doesn’t really matter what I am writing, or even if I am the one writing at all, I see shaping the piece as a challenge, as something that I can really delve into.

And oddly enough, it’s often small bits of copy that cause the most trouble. For example, even what will be used for a call-to-action on a business website, such as “Ready to start your free trial?”, or “Know anyone who could benefit from free _____ resources? Pass this along!” can take a lot of time and effort to get right.

It doesn’t matter to me if I am writing or editing fiction, non-fiction, for work, for pleasure; it’s all alike to me. Good writing is good writing in anything. It doesn’t differ between genres or topics. It is the same whether you are writing an informational article about how to purchase business assets or a flash fiction horror story.

Writing well is something that should be built into you as a writer, and it should be ingrained so deeply that even when you leave a note for your significant other, or you write out a grocery list, you should at least entertain the idea of doing it properly. And I don’t just mean the grammatical and spelling parts of writing. I mean knowing how to construct a beautiful sentence. How to arrange one word after the other, like a bouquet of flowers. And then, knowing how to piece many of them together to make a beautiful paragraph, a beautiful story.

This is what I love the most about writing. Not the ideas, not the thrill of someone liking your story, not a compliment or a review. I love building something great. It’s almost like working with something tangible, like puzzle pieces or building blocks that you fit together. The same satisfaction comes when you have produced quality work. You can look at it and know that it is well done. It is smoother than a polished stone. It is the best that it can be.

That feeling is the best part of writing. The act of doing it well is precisely what excites me and what drives me. It allows me to be a versatile and tactical writer, and it keeps me interested and engaged throughout any topic, no matter how boring.

Are you the same, or do you abhor the act of writing? If not the act, what part of writing makes you tick?

I’ll be on Facebook until next time.

Monday (Editors’) Motivation

I found this quote and found it to be quite amusing. I actually chuckled to myself when I did, which is quite rare since the internet has desensitized me as to what is worth laughing at online.

Editing quote

 

Writers, this is a good thing to remember from time to time. Editors, maybe have a sign made in solid gold to hang above your desk so you never forget it, even when days are tough.

Have the best of Mondays, friends.

I’ll be on Facebook until next time.

Why You Should Kiss Your Editor

Manuscript PageI read a rather upsetting quote the other day that was something along the lines of, “editors edit because they cannot write”. I can’t admit to remembering the exact context or source of the sentiment, but I found it to be naive and juvenile all the same.

Being an editor is similar to being a dentist. Often, people dread paying you a visit, but they have to do it in order to show off those pearly whites (or pearly pages) to the world. Editors need to polish, shape, scrape, and clean a manuscript just as a dentist does to your teeth. It’s bad enough to have writers dread your red pen, but to have people who believe that you do what you do because you could’t make it as a writer? Well, that’s even worse.

I write during about half of my professional time, and the other half is spent editing. My writing is good enough to be published to the masses, and my editing good enough to prepare the content of my co-workers for the same. Am I an anomaly? I think not. I think that perhaps whoever came up with that idea either had a terrible experience with an editor, or has a lot of trouble editing themselves.

An editor can be the difference between a flop and a bestseller, truly. They don’t only look for spelling and grammar issues, but they’ll make sure that when you said Sally’s eyes were blue, that they don’t change to brown halfway through the book. They’ll make sure that your readers won’t stumble or lose interest. They’ll make sure that when you say that your character traveled from one place to another in a single day that it makes sense logically. Some will even test recipes and calculate the passage of time to ensure consistency.

An editor expects to receive a rough story, even though the writer spent ages smoothing it. They’ll go over it carefully, exploring the intricate webs and structures of your words, sanding it down and helping to define the shape. And often, because they spend so much time perfecting the work of others, editors make excellent writers.

For me, the two go together like peas and carrots. To write well, you have to understand language at a deeper level than someone who does not write. To edit, you have to have a passion and adept knowledge for writing. You cannot expect to write well if you have no interest in editing, and you cannot expect to be a good editor if you do not enjoy writing.

I think that too much emphasis is placed on separating the two, when in actuality, editing should be set alongside reading as well as writing. To create quality material in any capacity, for any audience, you need to practice all three skills. They complement each other in such subtle ways that to ignore one is to damage the other. And in damaging one, you cause cracks and crevices in your stories.

Editors take your story and simply point to where they think that you could improve it. And ultimately, it is your work, so any good editor will make sure that you know that you may or may not accept some of their suggestions. They’ll walk you through the changes, and will often be willing to discuss or debate anything you wish to question. Remember, if something comes back to you with a lot of red, it means that you have an editor who spent a great deal of time trying to make your work the best that it could be.

So, instead of harping on them for missing a mistake or for wanting you to make a change that you don’t want to, try to find a little bit of appreciation for how much time they put into polishing your creation. Remember that they have the soul of a reader and writer as well, and that, if you picked a good one, they likely know what they are doing.

We should all be grateful to have people around who are willing to read our work over and over and over and provide insight while fully expecting to be criticized. So next time, show them that you genuinely appreciate their time and their skill. Show them that what they did made a difference to you, and that you think that they are just important to the story as you are.

What have your experiences with editors been like? What could have been better? Do you think that writers need to have editing skills as well?

I’ll be on Facebook until next time.

A Wordsmith’s Guilt

A Wordsmith's GuiltA good chunk of you know that I am not shy about admitting my writing mistakes. There are very few wordsmiths in existence who could claim to never ever question a word or complicated punctuation. Editors have style guides and dictionaries for a reason, and I assure you that they are well-used. You may be surprised to know that many professionals editors and writers have the same difficulties as those who write or edit as a hobby. We don’t just have trouble with severely complicated content.

And just because I am not shy about admitting that I make mistakes, it doesn’t mean that I don’t feel terribly guilty about some of them as someone who spends so much time honing their writing and editing skills.

The words and technical issues that I personally find the most daunting include:

Affect/Effect. I generally get this right now, but I still have to stop and remind myself which is the correct form prior to typing it out. No matter how many times I try to get myself to remember which is for what, I fail, so I just remember some trick with the “a” and the “e”.

Peruse: Every time I go to spell this word, I spell it “puruse”. That doesn’t even make sense. It follows virtually no English spelling rules.

Hierarchy: This one I can spell just fine, but I despise having to say it. The double “r” syllables get me every time.

Separate: I spell this as “seperate” every time. Every bloody time.

Plural Possessives: Why do these even exist? Why can’t they be their own separate words? Seniors’, Families’, and Farmers’ are words that I despise so much, I will avoid writing them if possible. I will completely rewrite a piece of content in order to stay away from the torture that these words give to me.

Capitalization: This is more of a style choice, but I hate having to make it. All caps, some caps, no caps? Consistently, only for certain titles/CTAs, or apply at random? It’s fine for one off things, but for an entire company, or even just an email campaign? Painful.

Limiting my Vocabulary: When you write the same kinds of content over and over, you start using the same words over and over. For example, when you write about real estate a lot, you begin to use “property”, “house”, and “home” intermittently. This is bad because you limit yourself to those words without exploring other options. If you are bored when you are writing, your writing will be boring.

Commas: I feel like no one actually knows all of the comma rules. I feel like it is impossible to know. In school, we were taught to use commas as pauses, but then in university I was told that that is incorrect. Then I was given a giant book full of comma rules that, though  I read the pages, never actually stuck. I have a good understanding of commas, and where they are supposed to go, but I think of them like salt and pepper: too much and you will ruin everything, not enough and you will have no flavour.

There are more, but I feel like I have admitted enough of my shortfalls today. It’s actually quite cleansing in a way, to admit that though you are a professional, you still make mistakes just like everyone else. Of course, I should be held to higher standards since I claim to have expertise, but if I were to know everything there wouldn’t be any point in reading or writing left, would there?

What are you guilty of? What words drive you mad, and which punctuation rules do you fail to grasp no matter how many times you learn them?

My posts on Facebook are more frequent if you haven’t had enough.

The Unpleasant Parts of Writing

The Unpleasant Parts of WritingI often talk about the good parts of writing on here. The things that make it worth it, and the things that bring us writers together. But writing is not just one big wonderful ball of enjoyment and pleasure. There are aspects of it that I would liken to psychological torture, or perhaps, for the less dramatic, the sound of nails on a chalkboard.

Some of the things that I most abhor about being a professional writer include:

Editing my own work. Seriously, it’s the worst. Once I write something, I want to publish it and be done. I don’t want to look it over, and I really don’t want to read it more than once. As a writer, though, I can’t do it. To pass it off to another editor or writer without even giving it a once over would be quite rude.

Of course, editing the work of someone else is a different beast that I actually enjoy. I would describe it as being like an Easter egg hunt, in that I know there are errors somewhere, I just have to find them.

Writing short copy. Oh, the agony! I find it so boring to sit and think of five different ways to say the same sentence or phrase. I’m good at it, and when it’s done I feel satisfied for having said something in the best way that it could be said, but I really can’t say that I enjoy the process itself. It’s like fishing in a way, waiting for the perfect wording to come to you, baiting it with lesser words and combinations. Hoping something bigger bites so that you don’t end up leaving the office knowing you could have done better.

Finding clients. I haven’t done much of this in a long time, but when this was a focus of my every day life, I found it to be so daunting. I guess I am just better suited to having employment contracts as opposed to relying completely on what business I can drum up.

Writing poorly because that’s what someone else wants. Sometimes clients and employers want what they want. Sometimes, that means writing content that you don’t want to, or writing content in a way that you don’t want to. Sometimes clients may want something that isn’t grammatically correct because it looks or sounds better. Sometimes they want you to mask some tricky marketing message with a bunch of fluff. A sad reality is that your writing may not always be something that you are proud of.

Writer’s block. Thankfully this doesn’t happen to me too often, but when it does I feel like a useless lump. It happened to me today, but I forced myself to write because that what we have to do. The fairy tale notion that movies portray of writers doing what they want to most of the time, and then sitting down one evening, apparently inspired, to write a bestseller is ridiculous. Many of us don’t have the luxury of choosing when we write, but do it either because it’s the only time we have, or because we are paid to do things by deadlines.

Running out of books. Lastly, and this is one that I am suffering from at this very moment, having nothing to read. I have reread everything on my shelf at least once, I have no book orders on the way, and anything that I actually do want to read is packed away in another province out of my reach. I haven’t seen anything I want to pick up lately, and I haven’t received any recommendations that I really wanted to pursue for some time. I’m really just craving a long series or the release of paperback versions of new books that I want to read. It makes me feel like I am in purgatory and it’s quite unpleasant.

I am certain that not all of you will have the same list of negatives as I do. If you did, the writing profession would certainly be a dull and boring thing.

So, what do you dislike the most about writing? Does it change based on how your writing is going?

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Self-Editing: Constant Vigilance!

Self-Editing: Constant Vigilance!Of course, in self-editing, we are not battling the same dark wizards as Alastor Moody, but it would do well to take a little wisdom from his words.

Self-editing, often considered to be the bane of existence for writers of all genres, is a difficult undertaking. But, whether you are self-publishing, submitting work to a publisher, writing fiction or non-fiction, or even just writing a blog post, it’s an important part of being a writer, that we must all accept.

As an editor and a writer, I’ve learned a few things over the years that I hope will help some of you in turn. Wherever you are on your journey, it never hurts to get a little assistance when it comes to self-editing, even if just to get a glimpse at what the process is like for others. Some of the most important tips that I have gathered include:

Consistency: Check for consistency in names, dates, places, characters, descriptions, and spelling. This is extremely important as readers will notice mix-ups and mistakes right away, and it will pull them out of the story almost as successfully as being thrown outside in -40 in their skivvies. Your readers should never have to stop to question whether something is an error or not. Therefore, keep notes and look closely when looking over your work.

Fact Checking: Even fiction needs fact checking, since there are usually non-fictional ties that weave their way into the story. For example, if a character is riding a horse to a destination, the amount of time that it takes them should make sense based on the distance, the ease of travel, and the greater description of the world. These tedious details are of great importance, since lacking them can cause disinterest and annoyance.

Never Underestimate Your Reader: Your readers can likely put two and two together without you actually having to say that they equal four. If you treat your readers like they are less than intelligent, they will quickly lose patience with you. Try to find a balance between detail and assumption, but never assume that the reader can see inside of your head without a little help. Areas where you notice an abundance of detail or over-explanation should be flagged and reworked.

Break Your Own Heart: When examining your story arc, avoid letting attachment to a character keep you from doing what you know you should. It’s common for writers to love their characters like they would love their own child—they are children of our souls, after all. But don’t let your love for a character ruin a story. Good things don’t always happen to good people. Bad things happen to everyone. Maybe don’t go full on G.R.R.M. unless you really want to, but learn to let go. It”ll hurt, but your story will be better for it.

Own Your Mistakes: Never assume that your writing is perfect. It isn’t. I make mistakes all of the time, because I have a horrible habit of letting writing pour out of me like water from a pitcher, and then a lack of desire to look through it afterwards. I write and edit every day of the week, and when I am at work, another writer/editor and I exchange work multiple times a day. Both of us make mistakes. Sometimes we miss them over and over. Sometimes, even after a piece has been edited by three or four people there will still be a mistake in the finished product. It happens. It doesn’t mean you are a bad writer, it means that you are just like the rest of us.

But the assumption that your writing is perfect, and that you never make mistakes will likely lead to your downfall.

Break Bad Habits: If you have a habit of spelling a word incorrectly, or of using too many speech tags, break it. Writing improves over time, and a good part of the improvement takes place in altering the way that you do it.

Learn to Take Criticism: Relying on friends and other writers is a great way to find out where your work is failing. But, if you can’t accept what they have to say, what’s the point in having them read it? Say “farewell” to your ego and learn to appreciate feedback. Not every pointer has to be sugarcoated. Be comfortable enough in your work that you can be thankful for every suggestion. If you argue every point, no one will want to help you anymore.

Constant Vigilance

The most important part of self-editing is to maintain constant vigilance. Always seek improvement, always be willing to rework. The only way that we improve as writers is to learn from our own work and to figure out how to do better. Be on the look out for past mistakes and train your eyes to mark consistency in serial commas and ellipses points. Know not just your story, but your style, inside and out. That’s what makes a good writer.

What is your self-editing process like? What do you struggle with most?

As always, you can find me on Facebook for a laugh, a cry, or a bit of commiseration.