We can never edit our writing enough. I know the topic of editing comes up on this blog a lot, but I promise that there’s a really good reason for that. It’s one of the very things that sets a good book apart from a great book. If the reader comes across one mistake after the next, they aren’t going to take you very seriously as writer. Not to mention, they probably aren’t even paying attention to the story line of your book anymore because grammatical errors and misspelling can be very distracting. The first thing that comes to people’s minds when they hear your name shouldn’t be, “Boy, they could have really used an editor.”
I came across an article today on Mashable about three editing tips for cover letters. This article really should have been geared towards all types of writing since the tips talked about in the article are very, very important for all writers. I think they are so important that I wanted to share with you, in a better context of writing in general.
- Pretend You’re A Stranger.
This is really awesome advice. It’s hard to get out of your own head when you’re writing but it’s something you must learn how to do. You know what you want to write, what you mean, or what you saying because well… you’re the one writing. But, that doesn’t mean that everyone else will. During one of your editing reviews, read your book/writing as if you are a complete stranger picking it up for the first time. Is the timeline clear? Are the characters defined? Is dialogue structured appropriately? Do details and events connect? Read your work as if you have absolutely no background on the subject matter. Can you follow it?
- Make Yourself Take A Risk.
Don’t be afraid to write outside the box. Throw your own flair into your writing. Want your writing world to be totally outlandish and unrealistic? Go for it, just make sure you explain it properly to your readers so they can be there with you. Want one of your characters to go against the grain? To do something that typically wouldn’t be expected of them? Something even completely unheard of to your readers? Do it. The last thing you ever want your writing to be is predictable.
- Get Old School.
Edit all your writing in hard copy, printed out, right in front of you, and away from the computer. I cannot stress this enough and this is by the far the most important editing tip out there. Yes, going digital saves some paper and yes, you have spell check. But there is nothing more reliable then your own eyes or those eyes of a friend, away from all distractions of technology. Use your own skills to edit your writing, not your computers.
It’s so simple. Just edit, edit, edit. There’s just no excuse for it. So grab a cup of coffee (or two) and hunker down. It will all be worth it in the end, even if you come out with a few less hairs on your head. Write on.