My friend, Cori Wamsley, does it all. She writes, she edits, and she sends out a wonderful newsletter about – you guessed it – writing and editing. Her latest newsletter outlines some great tips for editing your own work. They were so helpful to me, I thought I'd pass them along. Thanks Cori!
From Cori's Newsletter:
I just love editing (in case you didn't already know that)! But rumor has it that not everyone else does.
That's fine. That's why I'm here! And I thought you might want to know some tips for how to edit your own writing about yourself.
It's tough enough to edit your own writing about other topics, but now you have to be hypercritical when reading something you wrote about a person you don't want to criticize in the first place: you!
(This sounds like it will be painful, but I promise you that it won't.)
Here are my tips:
1) Time and space.
You need both to be able to edit anything, honestly. If possible, set aside your bio, About page, etc. for a couple days and leave your desk. Then come back and review. You will find it much easier to catch mistakes in flow, grammar, subtopics, punctuation, and all the other fun things to edit. Trust me. The best thing you can do is step back from your work and come back to it with fresh eyes.
2) Read aloud.
I know it sounds funny, but you can read what you wrote over and over in your head, and there will still be mistakes. Try a different approach once you think you have it finalized. Read the entire thing aloud to see how it will actually sound. Chances are that you will hear the mistakes that your brain missed in silent reading.
3) Start at the bottom.
Once you have good flow for your piece (i.e. the order of sentences make sense conversationally), start at the bottom of the piece for another review. You can read it paragraph by paragraph and then sentence by sentence to see if the smaller pieces sound ok. Do this through the entire work (if it's something small). Sometimes our brains get tired by the time we get to the bottom of our own writing, so we gloss over things that we would see if we were just reading that paragraph. This can fix that problem!
4) Get inked.
Tattoo time! This About page is a permanent fixture now, so let's engrave it on your arm to proudly show the world. Totally kidding!
Print out the piece you're working on and read it silently and aloud to check one more time for errors. You would be surprised how many times we read a piece on the computer screen, only to print it and have a glaring, hideous error that seems so obvious that a blind-folded sloth could find it.
When you write about yourself, you really want to shine, so thoroughly edit the piece to avoid distracting errors!
If you're looking for more editing tips, check out some of my favorite blog posts about editing.
Interested in learning more? Sign up for Cori's newsletter!
Cori Wamsley is the author of middle grade fantasy, children's lit, and chick lit. She is also a writing coach, book editor, and the executive editor of Inspiring Lives Magazine. Sign up for her newsletter at www.coriwamsley.com/join-the-flock.