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1 Easy Tip To Help You Edit Better

Most of you guys are writers like me.

We write in our spare time, at work, on blogs, on our manuscripts. And, sometimes, it’s difficult to get a quality editor to help out after you’ve finished your work. Maybe you don’t have the extra income to pay a freelancer, or maybe you just don’t know how to go about getting one. And, let’s be honest, your buddy Joe is literate–good for him–but he’s not an editor.

So what do you do?

Here’s one very easy tip to make you a better editor.

It could be life-changing. Probably not.

But it’s so simple you’re going to be mad at me for making an entire post about it.

So what is it? What one tip will make you a better editor?

Here you go. It’s this:

Read slower.

Woah. Mind blown, right?

Yep, just read slower. You’ll be surprised how many mistakes you’ll catch by just following that small little tip.

It’s just common sense, but so many writers don’t think about common sense when they’re in a hurry to publish.

I’m a prime example. Some evenings, as I’m wrapping up post for the next day, I’m tired and I don’t bother to read back through the post.

The next morning, as I click publish, I skim through the copy quickly and end up missing obvious typos. Of course I know the difference between “you’re” and “your,” but when I’m typing and editing quickly it’s a fairly easy mistake to make.

During the first year of my current job, about seven years ago, I was the primary editor for my team. I’m not an editor by trade, but I was the only one fit for the job at that time, so I did what I had to do. Since I’m not the most awesomest of editors, I have to be very intentional when I edit.

For me, that means slowing down to the point that I’m literally pausing on every letter. That’s how I catch mistakes.

But you don’t have to move that slow. All you need to do is take a breath and read your work slowly. Read it out loud, even.

Do that one simple technique, and I bet you’ll start catching more mistakes in your work before they get published.

Now, please tell me how many typos and grammatical errors I had in this post.

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27 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great point! I’m just getting started so I need all the help I can get!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 30, 2015
  2. Hi Robert,

    I make it four.. but I’ll settle for three. Maybe “most awesomest” could past as urban and edgy these days. 🙂 Another trick I’ve learned, when it’s an important piece, is to read the post or item backwards, one sentence at a time. (Last sentence first, then second last, etc). Once you take a sentence out of context, you stop seeing what you thought you wrote and see what you actually did write.

    (New to your blog, by the way, but liking it very much.)

    Barbara

    Liked by 4 people

    October 30, 2015
  3. Great blog! Someone told me the reading aloud tip years ago and it really helps 🙂

    Like

    October 30, 2015
  4. Yes. Reading it out loud forces you to read every word. It’s a must for self editing.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 30, 2015
  5. Hi! Honestly, I have been mind-blown at “read slower”: I am writing my thesis and I always have to check my text 10 times before handing it to my professor. To do the check, I just read slower than I would normally do, but I supposed this was just my method and while looking for other tips, I found that this is just right. Nothing fancy, just reading slower. Great tip then! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 30, 2015
  6. I honestly didn’t count the errors because I was reading it so fast. Guilty as charged!! I speed read and have a hard time getting out of that habit. I can’t read slower unless I’m literally reading my manuscript out loud. I find all kinds of things wrong, then. But some great advice here!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 30, 2015
  7. It’s a great point you make. Skimming copy is the easiest way to miss errors. I have two others: 1.Read your work out loud.
    2.Print the text. It’s a common view that we miss more errors on the computer screen than we do in hard copy.

    Liked by 2 people

    October 30, 2015
    • This is exactly what I was going to say. Black on white on paper, and then read it aloud slowly. Also, if there’s time, leave it alone for at least a few hours before printing and reading aloud. Overnight is even better. Distance is your friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      October 30, 2015
    • Yes! That’s a great one. I don’t always do that but make sure to do it on pieces that I’m paying special attention to.

      Liked by 1 person

      October 30, 2015
  8. writeittoreadit #

    This is great advice! I try to do three to four rounds of slow reading and editing, followed by a round of reading aloud/editing. I also do a final edit that involves a slightly faster read through.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 30, 2015
  9. Muy obvio pero no lo hacemos, así que es bueno recordarlo. Gracias!!

    Like

    October 30, 2015
  10. Awesome suggestion.

    Like

    October 30, 2015
  11. Read slower … Preferably with your favorite poison close by: Scotch, an espresso, a cigarette, etc.

    Like

    October 30, 2015
  12. I definitely need to remember this — I cringe sometimes when I read old posts and find spelling or grammatical errors, because I pride myself on being a stickler. I’m going to repeat this to myself every time I am editing a post.Thanks!

    Like

    October 31, 2015
  13. S #

    Hey Robert!!! Loved the tip. Already implementing it 🙂

    Like

    October 31, 2015
  14. great advice thank you

    Like

    November 2, 2015
  15. Robert, this is a great tip. I agree with the advice the others offered as well. Beside blogging, I am a freelance writer and editor. I often find it easier to detect the errors in someone else’s work than in my own. I belong to a writers’ group and read my work aloud for them if time allows and I’m not on deadline. There are a couple of them who not only help me tighten my writing, but help me write with more clarity.
    (I found five major things in your post to which I would have made edits.)

    Like

    November 2, 2015
  16. madelinebombardi #

    Great tip! Short and simple.

    Like

    November 2, 2015
  17. Good tip! Reading aloud helps me so much because i am dyslexic.

    Like

    November 3, 2015
  18. My tip – save the piece in draft form. Leave it for an hour or longer if possible and then read it again. Amazing what you see when you look at it afresh

    Like

    November 3, 2015
  19. Great. I have also learnt that reading my text from a phone reveals more mistakes than from a laptop. Maybe cos it’s close enough.

    Like

    November 4, 2015
  20. Use a ruler so that you focus only on the line of text immediately above the line.

    Like

    November 14, 2015
  21. Agreed. This works all the time :)!

    Like

    November 15, 2015
  22. It’s funny because I just started doing this and it really does lead to catching so many more errors. It also tells you if the story is good because you actually have to read and process every little part. It’s only too easy to skim through your own work instead of focusing in on it.
    Reading to edit is a lot different than reading for pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 17, 2015
  23. chatebooks #

    Great article! Thanks for this…truly of big help to aspiring authors. I wrote an article a few months ago about the role of proofreading in polishing editing skills. I hope this could help: https://www.chatebooks.com/blog-proofreading-tips-for-authors-to-polish-their-editing-skills

    Like

    January 8, 2016
  24. Thanks for these great tips not just a tip. Being slower and reading aloud.

    Like

    November 21, 2016

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  1. 1 Easy Tip To Help You Edit Better | Golden and Gray

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