All good writers have practised their talent relentlessly, but one thing that can often bring them down is a poor editing technique. This can range from a simple lack of understanding or editing skills to – *gasp* – not editing at all.
This month, we are going to talk about editing. This is a huge topic because not only do different people have different ways to edit, there are also so many ways to turn when we want to get our writing edited. The important thing is that, if you want to submit your work to professionals or see it featured by other people, then you need to edit (or get it edited) – because ultimately, you’ll want everything you submit to be without error. A large number of rejections are due to mistakes in spelling and punctuation, and none of us want to fall into that category.
Yes, sure, you can always pay someone to edit your work. There are lots of people out there who are willing to do it for a fee, probably too many for someone who doesn’t know where to turn. If you want to pay someone, then that’s your choice. But if you don’t have the money to get a professional or a freelancer to edit for you, then you’ll have to do it yourself. And yes, it can be boring. In fact, some of the more shrewd of you may notice that I occasionally don’t get enough time to edit these tips. That’s bad. Someone should slap me on the wrist. If you’ve spotted a spelling, grammar or punctuation mistake so far, then you can already see the importance of editing.
Let’s make one thing clear before we begin: editing is something that you’re supposed to do after you have revised your original draft and come to a version that you are happy with. This means that, when you edit, you shouldn’t be able to pick out plot holes in your writing. If you can see plot holes, you’re still in the writing stage, and editing needs to come later. It does, however, provide you with much more than a simple spelling/grammar check.
Editing can help you to notice patterns within your own writing that you might not have spotted before: repeated words, phrases, or common errors. It is an excellent way for you to iron our all of those things that you’re not 100% happy with about your own writing style (i.e. the way you write) and, with practice and patience, it can teach you to be more aware of them when you are busy writing. This means that good editing can improve both the finished product of your writing and the actual act of writing itself.
Editing is, of course, all about perfecting a finished piece of writing. For writers, this can make it an arduous task, especially in the beginning. You may think that you’re spending more time editing than actually writing – and you probably should be, too! It will likely be tricky to get into editing at first, so be sure to check back here later this month for more tips that helped me when I was editing my first book, City of the World.
This month’s theme is EDITING. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of editing, then please post a link in the comments or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Editing.