Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cleaning Up After Yourself: Editing

Editing your writing can be harder than composing a piece in the first place. While enjoying the heat of creation, you can blaze through five hundred words, marveling at your own cleverness and erudition. Only with a little time and some self-discipline can you see that what you found witty was only cute and that your brevity came at the price of skipping a word or two, destroying your clarity.

You can find editing advice all over the web. Most places, including my own editing suggestions, reiterate some of the same key points. Most of them bear repeating because writers forget or ignore them so often.

From time to time, you can find new editing tips in the mix. Things like changing the font of your piece and covering all but the line or paragraph you are editing can help you focus on the words themselves rather than getting distracted by the piece as a whole. These tricks make spelling and grammatical errors stand out from the concept on which you were concentrating when you wrote the piece.

Take some time to explore the editing advice you see on-line. Reminders to read your writing aloud and to check for subject/verb agreement call your attention to these basics, and new ideas can help you improve your writing by offering tools that make your editing time effective and less frustrating.