Tuesday, 16 September 2014
5 editing insights
1. Editing can't be rushed
There's no point speed-reading my work if I miss out on errors. I need to apply a careful filter to my writing which requires full concentration. It meant that when I was knocked out by a horror winter lurgy, I didn't go near my editing - I knew it would affect my deadline, but there was no reason to compromise the quality of my work for the sake of speed.
2. Takes longer than you think
Hand-in-hand with the above insight, I have been blown away by the slow pace of the editing process. My work flow goes a little something like this - write, edit, read on screen, edit, print out, edit, upload changes on screen, edit, reprint, edit, read on screen, edit… Tedious, yes, but utterly worth it!
3. Best done on screen and paper
No matter how closely I look at the screen, errors slip past. They're best picked up on paper - double instances of words, extra spaces in sentences where I have deleted sections and not re-formatted properly, poorly worded sentences that need to be edited and rearranged. Use a combination of your best tools (ie pen and keyboard) and you won't go wrong!
4. Is helped by reading out loud
Those clunky-looking sentences I saw on screen? Once I read them out loud, I found out where they needed to be fixed. This has been one of my best discoveries - once I get to the point of calling the manuscript finished, I will go through this process again, just to be sure...
5. Requires another set of eyes
Someone else will see what you've missed - find a literate friend or loved one and let them do their stuff. Reward them with chocolate or something equally satisfying.
What insights have you discovered during the editing process, whether it be on your blog, creative or business writing?
Is there anything you would like to share?