How to edit your own writing: 5 self-editing tips

Editing your own work can be a very tedious task, but this process is very essential if you want your work to gain the recognition you desire. Here are a few tips on how to self edit without strain;

Stephen King’s ten percent rule

When you finish a piece of writing, check the word count, then go back through it and cut at least 10% of the words.
So, if the article is 750 words long, remove 75 words. Take 50 words out of a 500-word article, and so on.
As you implement the 10% rule, you’ll become aware of words in your writing that don’t add essential meaning to what you’re trying to say.
This flexible rule is similar to what we discussed earlier regarding superfluous words. Good writing employs just the words that are required, therefore reducing 10% of your initial draft will help you achieve that goal. Instead of deleting the sections you like, search for redundancies and word clusters that might be substituted with fewer words.

Keep your target audience in mind while editing

Always adjust your writing to your audience—doing an assignment for a teacher involves different vocabulary than writing a humorous piece for friends. When self-editing, ask yourself the following questions:

What would my reader think about this section?
Will my reader grasp this?
Which of the following phrases would my reader prefer?
Consider a person you know well as a stand-in for your target audience (as long as they match). Make up a fictitious person to represent your average reader if you don’t have somebody in mind.

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Read it aloud

Many writers read aloud their initial draft to gain a fresh perspective on it. Reading it aloud stimulates different parts of your brain than reading silently, which can lead to fresh insights. It also aids clarity: certain statements do not make as much sense when said aloud as they do in your thoughts.

Consider it for a while

Don’t be hasty when it comes to editing your work take it one step at a time. Writing a rough copy is exhausting, so take some time to relax before self-editing. It’s advisable to obtain a good night’s sleep before revising. If you don’t have time for that, at least take a little break and do something fun to decompress before returning to your work.

Make use of editing resources

If all of these selfediting requirements are making you feel overwhelmed, there is some good news: you don’t have to do it alone. There are numerous editing resources available to help you. For one, many apps such as grammarly offers writing suggestions on both grammar and spelling while you write so you never miss a mistake.

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