4 Tips To Edit Your Own Work

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 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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!

  1. 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!

A Love Letter to Agatha Christie

It’s finally March! There’s a hint of spring on the horizon, and the daffodils have started to peep through. March is not only the kick-off of spring. It’s also International Women’s Month. I wanted to highlight some female writers and protagonists this month. Why not start this month on a high note with one of the most famous female writers in the world? Agatha Christie is one of the most well-known mystery writers in history. With 80 works published during her writing career, she is an inspiration to writers.

I was first introduced to Agatha Christie in my teens by my grandmother. As a lover of English history and stories, she has the BBC Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot box sets. My grandmother told me all about the stories, and a bit about Agatha herself. When I was in college, I finally read an Agatha Christie novel. I still remember the intensity of reading And Then There Were None in my dorm room. Also, the irritated look of my roommate after I scared her half to death by throwing the novel across the room. Her stories are so well-plotted and rich that her plot twists make me angry. It’s baffling to me that she was able to write 80 works of this caliber!  

The stories I have read by Agatha are intriguing. Among the countless classics, there are some standouts that make her the Queen of the plot twist. Her plays, short stories, and novels are a wonderful study of how to build a good mystery. When I have a story idea wrapped in a mystery, I always want to build a story worthy of Agatha. Her masterful use of point-of-view and small details are a perfect study. I’ve read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd a few times for writing inspiration! I have only read seven of her stories, but I know that the other 73 will offer the same caliber of inspiration.

Agatha Christie herself is a woman full of mysteries and sharp wit. She came up with Hercule Poirot, one of her most famous detectives, in her twenties! Agatha also managed to completely disappear for 10 days before authorities found her. With all the information we know now, we still aren’t completely sure what happened.  She also worked on archeology digs around the Middle East with her second husband. During this time, she would write 3-4 books in a year. Can you imagine writing a high-caliber story like that in a year? Let alone three stories? She kept her pace going throughout WWII and didn’t slow down until her mid-50s.

Since Agatha first began writing she has become an iconic part of the mystery genre. Her characters are still referenced in pop culture today. Modern writers use her plots as inspiration for their stories. From tv to books, you can find the ghost of Agatha Christie almost anywhere. It’s inspiring that one of the most famous female authors in history wrote mysteries. The kind of stories that need a clever mind to create the story, and then hide the clues. One day, I hope that I can unlock that side of my brain and create wonderful stories. Until then, I’ll continue on my quest to read all her works. Maybe a line or character will spark something for me. It’s possible that with her guiding me, I can uncover a story of my own.

What Agatha Christie book is your favorite? Who is your favorite female author? Let me know in the comments below! I have so many others, but couldn’t resist an opportunity to fangirl over Agatha! If there are books by female authors that you would like to recommend, you can do so here. Thanks so much for reading, and happy International Women’s Month!