Bringing writing, to its conclusion.
To get my writing ready to publish I use a simple five-step effective editing plan. This can work whether you are editing a novel, college assignment or post for the internet.
Effective editing can be the difference between success and failure.
Mistakes are the biggest reasons that readers do not re-visiting content from writers.
All of us enjoy the feeling of finally completing the first draft.
However now is when the real work starts. Turning the rough draft into a polished article.
5 Steps to Effective Editing
It is important to state your first draft should be a conscious outpouring of ideas. I write my first draft without stopping. Without looking for facts or checking myself I write to the conclusion.
If I can’t think of a phrase of work I just out a ??? If I want to add quotes I say where I never stop to search for them during my first draft.
1) When your brain is faster than your fingers
Try to leave your first draft for a day before going back to it. At least leave it a couple of hours. Then read through it and correct all the obvious mistakes.
Places the prose doesn’t flow. Places where you have used the wrong word. If you are like me and your brain works faster than your fingers, then these mistakes could be numerous.
It is during this draft I fill in all the ??? and find the facts and quotes that I need.
If this is the editing of a novel, I advise, you read it in as few sittings as you can.
2) Sentence Structure
Once this is completed I then cut and paste the article into Hemingway. I have spoken about Hemingway before and the huge positive impact it has had on my writing. Hemingway will tell you where your sentence is too long. Where you have used too many passive words.
It generally acts as a friendly editor sitting on your shoulder.
I take full advantage of everything Hemingway offers. It is during this read through that I read the piece at a slower speed. I look for all the places I have used the wrong word. This can happen when you get caught up in the writing.
With Hemingway’s help, I will take out the waffle and add the description if needed. Large portions of your original draft may well end up on the editor’s floor or in my case the recycle bin.
3) Grammar and Spelling
When this is complete I then copy and paste the article into Grammarly to work on grammar and spelling.
I use the free version of both these packages, for me they offer enough.
A word of warning with Grammarly you need to read what suggestions it makes carefully. Some of them will not be suitable for your piece. Remember to always use your own judgement when needed. Generally speaking, this is an excellent program that has saved my blushes on more than one occasion.
4) Producing the piece
Once again if possible I leave the piece for a day before returning to it.
During this edit I put it into the format I am using. If this is Medium I use headers, pictures etc. If this is a novel I tend to produce the manuscripts on Scrivener.
This is the point that I ask a family member or friend to check through what I have written. I include the links and anything else that is essential to attract readers to the piece.
5) Hit Publish
One more read through to check everything is correct. Here it is an advantage to either read the piece out loud or find a program to read the piece to you.
There is nothing like hearing the piece to pick up mistakes and areas that don’t flow.
There are times with your writing when you get to stage four of the effective editing process and change the article. If this change dramatic you may have to revisit steps 2 and 3.
Don’t be afraid to take this extra time to produce something you are proud of.
You owe it to your readers to respect their time and only give them quality pieces to read.
What is your number one effective editing tip?