One of the Ten Commandments of writing is utilizing others. Having a new pair of eyes look at your work can help you to know what to fix. But, there are situations where this kind of help isn’t readily available. Either the person you trust doesn’t have time or you don’t feel comfortable having someone else read your work yet. You shouldn’t stress about what to do next. This is the right moment to learn how to edit your own work.
Using the right resources, you can train yourself to be your own “other pair of eyes.” Here are some tips to keep in mind when editing your own work.
Don’t get too attached to your first draft.
One mistake I have seen writers do over and over is get too attached to their first draft. I know it can be hard to get critical about something you’ve put so much effort into, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have the end product yet, just a very good starting point.
It is especially important to understand that changing your work doesn’t mean it’s bad. I have seen writers take criticism as insinuations that their work isn’t good, but that’s far from the truth. Just remember that this is something that is meant to be worked on a lot. (and I mean A LOT!)
Use Hemingway App.
I can’t rave enough about this writing application. If you need help to edit your own work from a technical standpoint, the Hemingway app is the way to go.
This writing platform helps you break up those run on sentences or correct any grammatical errors. It even goes so far as to tell you when a sentence is too clunky to understand or you’re using a passive voice. This application is the best when it comes to making sure your writing is consistent and easy to read.
Wait a period of time before editing.
The best tool you can use to edit your own work is time. Taking some time away from your written work can freshen your perspective. Take this new time to focus on things you’ve been neglecting, or starting a new project! Those useless scenes or awkward dialog can become glaringly obvious when you’ve spent some time away.
Think of it like hanging your work on the line up to dry. It won’t dry right away. It needs some time to freshen up, if that makes sense.
Edit your own work with confidence.
Learning to edit your own work is an invaluable skill to learn as a writer. While it may seem intimidating to figure out, these tips can help you on the right path to self edit.
While you should always self-edit, this shouldn’t be your only step. Having a trusted friend (or lit magazine!) to review your work can go a long way to helping you develop your skills.
While you’re here, check out some of our other writing tips:
Best of luck on your writing journey from Capulet Mag, the lit mag by young women for young women.