Check Yourself: Self-Editing 101

CheckYourself_largeI’ve given a lot of writing advice. It’s my way of trying to pick up after myself and make sure others gain something from my mistakes.

Self-Editing is so incredibly important; I can’t stress this enough. You need to know what to look for and have an eye for your own classic mistakes. As wonderful as it is to find a blessed human being willing to read over your hard work, it doesn’t always work out that way.

So these are the most common (-ly found in my papers) simple writing mistakes that can be fixed with a careful hand at self-editing:

  1. Read it out-loud. Tried and true method for hearing how convoluted sentences can get on paper when you’re trying to formulate an intelligent idea.
  2. TRIM. Don’t shift sentences around or hold on to phrases for the sake of sounding poetic- sometimes it’s just better to keep this comprehensive, short and sweet. Consider this a lesson in letting go.
  3. The passive voice is a deadly flaw in strong writing. It was…It is…In this way….There were…. “It was hot this afternoon” becomes “The air was thick with summer heat”. Focus on saying something with a strong ringing affirmative.
  4. Tenses. I’m letting you know now that you’re going to be careful so that you didn’t write a paper like this. That’s a bit extreme but I’m sure you see my point.

You can find many more of these helpful tips on Write to Done. I listed the ones that seem to sneak into my writing most often and hope these small considerations can offer some help.

I know it’s incredibly difficult, after hours of tireless effort, to go back and continuously recheck a paper but it is so important. These little things can make a huge difference and that extra mile can go a long way for your writing!

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