4 Tips to Make Editing Your Own Drafts Easier

It’s always easier to edit a draft than to create that draft in the first place. It’s also easier to edit something that someone else has written compared with editing your own drafts.

Yet many home business owners have to be their own editors. So here are 4 tips that will make it easier for you to edit your drafts.

Be Your Own Editor Tip #1: Put It Aside

One of the best ways to get “fresh eyes” on your draft is to put it aside for a while. When you come back to your draft, it’s easier to spot both basic grammar and spelling issues and places where you haven’t phrased things as clearly or cleanly as possible.

I generally try to leave at least 24 hours — and ideally longer — between writing a draft and attempting to edit it. 

Be Your Own Editor Tip #2: Read It Aloud

Reading your text aloud will help you identify where sentences are too long, where you’ve got yourself tangled up in how the sentence is structured, or if there’s a better order for all the elements in the sentence, such as where you position a reference to the time or place something happened.

You can also get your computer to read your text aloud to you. This is available under the Accessibility settings in both Windows and MacOS. It’s a fantastic way to spot missing words or spelling mistakes, as the computer will read exactly what’s there, not what your brain is expecting to see. 

Be Your Own Editor Tip #3: Use Automated Tools

The most obvious automated tool you can use while editing is the spelling and grammar checker in your word processor. (Don’t forget to make sure your word processor is set to the right language, whether that’s US or UK English or something else.)

You can also use online tools like Grammarly or the Hemingway app to flag up issues, although you should always take the advice of any tool that looks at writing style with a pinch of salt. Finally, you can also use a word frequency counting tool like wordfrequency.org to look for words you’ve used multiple times, so that you can avoid too much repetition.

Be Your Own Editor Tip #4: Change Your Reading Experience

The final tip is to change what your text looks like. This is especially good for spotting spelling mistakes and missing punctuation. A quick way to do this is to change the font size or typeface. Another option is to look at your text on a different device, so that the lines are longer or shorter and wrap at different points in each sentence. As already mentioned, getting your computer to read your text aloud can serve the same purpose of giving you a fresh perspective on your draft.

Advice on how to apply these tips to help you edit every part of your draft is included in the steps in my Ultimate Editing and Proofreading Checklist. Click on the banner to find out more and to get your own copy.

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