As a professional editor, I feel I have really gathered a wealth of knowledge and wisdom when it comes to the ability to polish a manuscript. And since I’m a kind chap with a giving heart, this is where I’ll pass this knowledge and wisdom over to you. Or some of it at least.
Editing your work is as much fun as a slap with a wet fish. It smells similar too, what with the odour that begins to radiate from your skin after spending ten hours at a keyboard.
It comes down to patience a lot of the time. Patience, and a the ability to distance yourself from your work emotionally – that’s the hard part. It’s easy to get caught up in the what ifs and the maybes whilst you’re editing your work, and one way to avoid this is to stop yourself from comparing it to the work of others – that’s something we’ll go over in this post.
Patience and simplicity – those are what it takes to become a great self-editor, and those are the two things that we shall discuss in this very post. Let’s not waste any more time than necessary, didn’t you know there’s work to do around here?
This applies to life in general actually, not just to the rewriting process. But for now, we’ll just discuss its relevance to the topic.
Simplicity is great when rewriting for a number of reasons. First off, if you keep things simple, they won’t ever be complicated – and what could be more appealing than that? Okay, maybe that first part was a lie. The rewriting phase will always become complicated in one way or another, but hey, we can try, right?
Now, the way simplicity actually does apply to self-editing, is in the sense of proofreading. Proofreading is a simple process, and for me, it is always the first and last thing I do before sending an edit back to my client. You should employ this strategy when editing your own work.
When reading, keep an eye out for those simple spelling errors. There’s nothing worse for an agent or publishing house than reading a manuscript that’s littered with spelling errors. So keep a keen eye on them. And don’t forget to watch out for the sneakier ones too; the ones that depend on context.
‘It’s’ vs ‘its’, ‘their’ vs ‘there’ vs ‘they’re’ etc.
These are one of my biggest pet peeves. Learn the difference between them and use them correctly – it isn’t that difficult. Keep it simple, keep it clean, and edit with precise precision – that way, you’ll stand a greater chance of conquering those pesky little errors.
Never, and I Mean Ever, Compare Your Work to Someone Else’s
This is suicide as far as writing is concerned.
The moment you start comparing your work to that of another writer, is the exact moment you have failed as a writer. As a creative, you must resist this human instinct, because it is perhaps the most poisonous thing you could ever do.
This applies to life in every aspect. The moment you begin comparing yourself to someone else in any way, is the moment you lose as a human being. It’s about staying in your lane and focussing on you – because when it comes down to it, that’s the only thing that will get your book from where it is currently, to where you want it to end up. That is the only thing that will get your book off of your screen and onto the shelves.
Comparing yourself to those who have already arrived at your desired destination is futile in your quest for success. Everyone’s path is different. Looking at the way someone else’s may wind will not help you navigate your own. After all, the editing process is for bringing out the uniqueness of your written voice, not for beating yourself up because it doesn’t sound like that of another writer.
Simplicity and Laser Focus
Those are the memos in today’s tips. Don’t stray from the course, and keep the course as simple as it can be – doing so will result in your eventual success. There’s no such thing as failure here. You just have to keep working until you eventually get there.
Instead of giving you tips on editing, I could just do it for you… For further information on my ghostwriting and editing services, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Visit my contact page to find out how.
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