Firstly, you should get an editor. You cannot find all the problems in your writing yourself. Editors exist for a reason. That being said, it’s always nice to know that we’ve done all we can before handing off to beta readers or an editor. What can we do to clean up our own writing with a good self edit?
- Find a reading app: I use Google Docs and there’s an addon you can get for Docs that lets you highlight a section and have it read to you. This has helped me fix a lot of problems with flow and tense and well, everything (I should start using it for the blog too honestly). This is almost as good as self editing by reading it out loud to yourself.
- Read it out loud: Reading to yourself makes you focus on the words more than internalizing them. Speaking a sentence might make you realize that it’s not as smooth in practice as it was in your head. Reading out loud will help you to self edit.
- Get a grammar app: Grammarly is the most recommending I’ve found. I love it for most things. Sadly it doesn’t work with Google Docs so I used a different one.
- Work on something else for a while: Sometimes we get too wrapped up in what we are working on and end up becoming blind to it’s flaws. Work on the first chapter of another book or sequel when self editing. Take time to read a book or relax. Get your mind focused on anything else before you edit your book. You want the book to feel new to you so you can find the flaws.
- Don’t get caught up in perfection: When editing it’s easy to get caught up trying to make the first line perfect. You can always go back to it. Give your piece a few runs through and make natural changes while you self edit. Changes that feel forced or are over thought can ruin a piece.
How do you self edit? Leave a comment below.
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