Whether you are a student, a copywriter, or an author, you understand the importance of editing and proofreading. But many do not understand all that is involved in editing, and so they are not sure exactly how to go about it.
Let’s first define editing in writing. In its broadest sense, editing is the review of any piece with an eye to changing, modifying, and correcting errors. Editing is looking at the bigger picture of that piece rather than looking just for mechanical mistakes, like spelling, punctuation, and such.
If You Choose to Edit Your Own Writing
This is usually not recommended. Writers are too close to what they have written themselves to put an objective and critical eye on their own work. However, if you decide to tackle this task on your own, learn to edit writing with some practice and by using these editing tips for writers:
- Once a written piece is finished, set it aside for 24 hours if possible. This is one of the most important editing techniques for writing. Giving your brain a break from what was produced will let you come back to it with a fresh “eye.”
- Read the entire piece out loud to yourself. This puts another sense, hearing, into the mix.
- If you are editing your piece on the screen, stop. Print it out instead. Just having it in a different format can help find issues.
- Some writers find that reading the piece backwards helps to find structural errors in paragraphs and sentences, as well as missing transitions between paragraphs or sections.
- Always edit structure first. Start with some type of graphic organizer before writing – an outline, even in a very informal form or at least a list of points to make. Go back to your organizer and review it. Is it “solid?” This means did it provide a good structure for the piece?
- Edit for content once any structural errors are fixed. Each paragraph or section should relate to your thesis statement. Is there a topic sentence that introduces each paragraph? Does all of the content within that paragraph relate to the topic sentence? And, is there a transition at the end of each paragraph or at the beginning of the next one that tells your reader where you are going next? Paragraphs or sections need to be tied together.
- Have you checked to be certain that you have not repeated the same points? This is a common error when a graphic organizer has not been followed or is flawed from the beginning.
- Especially in academic writing, avoid phrases such as, “In my opinion” or “I believe” unless those phrases are followed by information or data.
- Once you have looked at the larger picture and make corrections, you are ready to look at your work sentence by sentence. Have you varied the types of sentences used? Are their structural errors in the sentences themselves (e.g., fragment or run-ons)? Do you have too much packed in a single sentence?
So, editing involves several steps. But you can learn how to edit your own writing if practicing these steps when you review anything written.
Can You Get Editing Help?
Yes, absolutely. And you can get that help online. Here are some options for editing.
You can find a software app that will provide editing for you. Be mindful, though, that these apps (Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, Kibin, etc.) are automated editing resources. There is no human pouring over your work. And all have a basic free editing service that will point out errors. To get recommendations and fixes, though, purchase the premium subscription versions. Still, these can be useful if in a hurry.
You can also find any number of online writing sites that will provide a professionally completed and full edit and proofreading, by an actual human professional online essay editor with the expertise you need. And when you find a good one, you will have direct communication with your editor, so that you can understand exactly what corrections need to be made and why. This can be a learning experience that will better your own editing skills in the future.
How to Find the Right Service Online
You can pour through the thousands of results that a Google search will give, but how do you know if these writing services are reliable, professional, and trustworthy? You don’t unless you do some research on your own.
Fortunately, there are a number of writing service review sites that have done this work for you, like Top Writers Review. You can access the site, read the reviews and see what customers have to say about their experiences, for example, with dissertation editing and proofreading from specific companies.
Posted by Diana B.