Many writers read the title of this post and internally cringed. Editing and critiquing your own work can be a giant hurdle to overcome. It’s a challenge for new and experienced writers alike. Reading your own work critically can often lead to a dip in self-confidence or an increase in frustration with your work. Many writers instead rely on beta readers or a writing buddy to help them find issues. Unfortunately, that amazing help isn’t always available. That calls for writers to put on their thinking caps and get to editing themselves. If you’re a writer
- Give yourself time to transition from writing brain to editing brain
A big issue that some writers run into when editing is turning off your writing brain. It often leads to missed grammar errors for some, or the editing session quickly turns back into writing time. Give yourself time to switch off that part of your brain. Get up, make a cup of your favorite beverage, and give yourself time to enjoy it before getting back to work. You can also have designated editing days to get your brain used to switching modes.
- Practice on other works
When in doubt, practice makes perfect. One of the biggest ways to improve your editing skills with your own is work is to practice on others. If you have writing friends, offer to beta read one of their stories. Practicing constructive feedback and editing on your friends’ work is a great way to improve your skills. You can also look up works to edit as well. The more you get used to editing other works, the easier it gets to look at your own work in that way.
- Don’t be down on yourself when you edit
This one of the hardest things to tackle when you are editing. It’s a lot easier to be very hard on your writing. If you have an imposter syndrome problem like me, this is especially hard to get over. Take the time to distance yourself from the writing and approach it differently. Pretend that you are reading a friend or colleague’s work instead of your own. Would you roast their writing like you would roast your own? Of course not! Instead you’d give constructive criticism, which you need to give yourself as well. Eventually, you’ll be able to look at your own work without this trick. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while to constructively edit your own work. It’s a mental process as well as a technical process. Just keep practicing and you’ll get better!
- Always keep up your editing skills
An obvious but important point is to keep up your editing skills. Not everyone has an opportunity to flex their editing muscles every day. With all the tiny grammar and sentence structure rules, it’s easy for those skills to get rusty. Try to block out a fair chunk of your writing time to edit or work on your editing skills. Every once in a while it’s good to watch a Skillshare training or YouTube video to refresh your memory. It’s also a great way to improve your skills if editing isn’t your strength.
How do you approach editing your own work? Do you have any tips for editing your own work? Let me know in the comments below! I hope that some of these tips will help you start editing your own work. Also, there’s not going to be a post next week. I’m taking a week off for my birthday! It’s crazy that it’s been almost a year since I celebrated my birthday in quarantine. I hope that all of you are doing well during this time. Happy writing everyone!