Monday, October 08, 2012

3 tips for editing your own writing

Most of us know that the best way to make sure your writing is error-free is to have another person read it over. However, there will be times when you don’t have the time—or resources—to enlist another set of eyes. So what do you do then?

It’s not an ideal situation, but you can take steps to ensure your words are edited thoroughly when you’re on your own. Try these tricks:

Enlarge the font
Try bumping up the font a few sizes. You’ll see fewer words on the screen, which eliminates visual clutter. And the type will obviously be larger, which is good for noticing things like extra spaces, duplicated words, and other minor errors.

Read it backward
Ton ekil siht! Boy, that would be tough! But you can start reading the last paragraph, then the next-to-last paragraph, and so on through the document. Working out of order gives your brain a chance to re-focus and catch mistakes that your eyes might otherwise gloss over.

Print it out
Reading on-screen is hard on the eyes, so utilize your printer and read your copy directly from a printed page. This is probably the best way to look for mistakes—aside from having another person help out.
What tricks do you use to look for errors and typos in your writing?


Steve Henry said...

Excellent points. I wish more people would read, and apply, this. Thanks for sharing.

Steve Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joanne Kaminski said...

I read it out loud. This really helps me to focus on making sure it sounds right.

Bonnie Gean said...


I let my writing simmer - at least a day. Then I print it out and read it out loud.

I find that I can spot mistakes better, when I read it out loud than if I just read it silently.

Also, reading it at a slower pace than normal helps too.

- Bonnie

Martha Giffen said...

Hate to admit, but I'm one to whip it out and forget about it! Guess I need to edit! LOL

jazzmom said...

Great additional tips! Letting writing sit for at least a day is a great way to distance yourself from your work and come back with fresh eyes (and a fresh mind!). And reading aloud is good, too. Thanks for sharing!

Christine Brady said...

Hi Cassie,

Great editing tips!

I will usually write a piece and then let it sit for a few hours or overnight if I have time. Then come back to it, re-read it and go from there.

Always makes those errors jump out at me :)

Thanks for sharing!


jazzmom said...

Me too, Christine! Thanks for reading! :)