As a senior English major in college, I’d say I have had to learn quite a bit about self-editing. The ability to self-edit well is an essential skill if you want to be a successful writer. While having others edit your work is still important, the ability to see the flaws in your own work and fix them can help you create better pieces of writing. Here are just a few tips I have learned along the way that might be able to help you better self-edit:
- Print it out: Editing a lengthy or even relatively short work on the computer can be difficult. Personally, I know I tend to miss many small mistakes while looking at a computer screen. If you print out the work, it is much easier to notice missed mistakes or typos.
- Details, Details, Details: In order to successfully self-edit, you must be able to pay attention to every little detail. It’s easy once you’ve written a paper or article to just skim over it because you think that you have already caught the mistakes. By carefully reading line by line, you are more likely to catch even the smallest mistake, such as tense changes.
- Time away: Once you’ve finished writing the work, step away for an hour or so and get your mind off of it. When you write and look over the same work for several hours, your brain can get tired and every sentence starts to sound the same after a while. Give your brain a rest, and you will be more proactive in your editing.
- Read aloud: Reading your work out loud can help you notice if a sentence is clumsy or does not flow well. It also allows you to hear if what you wrote is coherent and comprehensible.
These are just a few tips that I hope will help you in all of your writing!