If we want people to take our written content seriously it needs to be free of spelling and grammar mistakes. There is nothing wrong with making these mistakes in the first place; all writers do it – in fact, some well known authors produce embarrassing first drafts that have a mistake in almost every paragraph. The point is not that we need to avoid making these mistakes, but that we don’t publish them for the world to see. Even if we produce the most interesting, and otherwise well written, content it will not be taken seriously by most people if it contains mistakes. We need to be able to edit our own work and here are some ways to do just that.
How to Edit Your Own Writing
Editing our own writing can be difficult. The problem is that we tend to read what we think we’ve written and not what we have actually written. Our eyes can deceive us and this means that a quick scan over our content is unlikely to be enough. Here are a few tips for how we can better edit our own work.
- Put your finger under each word as you go along to ensure that it says what you think it says. This way there will be less chance of missing mistakes.
- Read what you’ve written out loud. This is a fantastic way to edit because it can be very effective. We tend to find a lot more mistakes when we do this, and it can also help us improve other aspects of our writing. If you are only interested in using one editing tool then this is probably the best one to choose.
- If you are too lazy to read out loud then you could also use text-to-speech technology. This software will turn your written words into sound and you will be able to more easily spot mistakes. This technology is now very common and you can even get software that produces a convincing human voice.
- Read your sentences backwards and this will make it harder for your eyes to deceive you. This is not a fun way to edit but it can work well for spotting mistakes.
- Leave your content for a day or two and then come back to it with fresh eyes. Doing this means that you won’t be so ‘close’ to the work and will be better able to notice any problems. Of course, this method can only work if you don’t intend to publish right away.
Of course, the best way to find all the mistakes in our writing is to have an editor look over it. This will not be possible for most of us and even those of us who do have an editor will still want to polish our work as best we can. Some writers complain that editing is a chore, but we really can get a great sense of achievement when we finish and realise that our content is the best we can make it.