Self-Editing Tips and Tricks (revisited)

December 10, 2015 - This is a repost of a popular article from about two years ago. It’s wisdom and guidance are still worthy today. Enjoy!

An editor can be an invaluable resource for adding clarity, impact, and saleability to our written work, but many of us don’t always have an editor at our disposal. When we do choose to hire one, we want our work to be as strong as possible going into the editing process.

Here are some things you can do yourself to add impact to your own writing:

1) Review your goal. Do you know why are you writing this piece? Can you state it succinctly in one short sentence?

2) Look at your organization. Does your piece take the reader logically, step-by-step, from where they are to where you want them to be?

3) Check the focus. Does every paragraph, every sentence, every word move the reader toward your goal?

4) Make sure you have a container. Does your opening paragraph set an expectation for the reader? Does your closing paragraph remind them of how that expectation was met?

5) Read for interest. Does your piece contain stories, examples, metaphors, humor – a little bit of you?

6) Confirm your professionalism. Did you check – and check again – for spelling, grammar, correct word usage, punctuation, capitalization, and formatting? Do you look professional on the page?

Just a little attention to these six steps can go a long way toward producing a manuscript that has interest, readability, and impact for the readers you want to reach.