How To Do Editing In 7 Easy Steps

My Top Editing Tips

The writing process is fraught with many challenges and can be very time consuming, but for most of us it is a labour of love. Whether writing blog posts, short stories or non-fiction, the hardest part is usually the editing. Trying to finalise a piece and make it presentable enough to share with an audience can be very stressful so I thought I would share with you some tips that I have learned as a fledgling writer, teacher and blogger.

  1. Look away

    When you have finished an initial draft of something, always give yourself some space from the project before attempting that very first proper edit. For a blog post, leave it an hour before returning to it. When writing a story, try to give it a few days or even a week and then you should be able to look at it again with fresh eyes. After this the editing can begin.

  2. Read it aloud

    Find a quiet space and read out loud what you’ve written so far. I always find that my fluency improves so much after I have heard myself read my work aloud. You definitely quickly discover where something sounds repetitive or incoherent. If it doesn’t sound right, it probably won’t read right either.

  3. Check your pronouns

    It sounds like a small thing but it really is important to make sure that you have used a selection of pronouns rather than just repeat ‘they’ and ‘he’ or ‘she’ over and over again.

    Along with this, check that every sentence has a different starter. A long list of sentences beginning with ‘She’ can soon bore a reader and cause them to give up altogether. Careful editing of this can make all the difference.

  4. Read it to a trusted friend

    This sounds pretty obvious but it’s not always something that people feel comfortable doing. Asking someone else to listen to your story or article can be very handy. They can tell you whether it flows or not and let you know their favourite parts. Once you know the best bits you can think about expanding these elements. This may even result in you cutting other parts out that didn’t seem to resonate as well.

  5. Be prepared to rearrange

    At times, it may be useful to reorder the paragraphs within your text. Usually, having read it to yourself and showed it to a friend, you will have new ideas about the sequence. This may not be the case with a story so much but could apply to blogs. Even writing out these points, I have changed the order as I reviewed my content.

  6. Ask some questions

    When you get to the stage of editing your work have these questions in mind:
    1) Does your story or blog have a clear message?
    2) Does it make sense on its own?
    3) Are you able to summarise the story in a single sentence?
    If you can say yes to these questions then you probably have something ready to publish.

  7. Let it go

    There will come a time when you will have to let your project loose. Having followed the above steps, your short story or blog should be in a good position to fly. Be prepared to show the world and leave it to simmer for a while before thinking about it again. Then promote it with all of your energy and enjoy responding to readers’ comments. Comments, after all, make writing all the more worthwhile.

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If you enjoyed this post, perhaps consider following my blog for more of the same type of content.

Here is a post that I recently wrote about short story writing:

http://jamieadstories.blog/2021/06/06/how-to-write-a-short-story/

You can find out about my own writing here:

https://jamieadstories.com/

Managing Your Time – 5 Quick Fixes

As someone that enjoys writing and reading, I know how difficult it can be to fit those hobbies into the daily grind. With work, shopping, cleaning, dealing with family and just trying to keep my eyes open, finding time to do the things that I love becomes more and more challenging. How do you find time to read? Are there dedicated slots in your day for some ME-time?

Sometimes a cup of coffee and a good book solve everything.

This blog post is designed to encourage you to reflect on your timetable and consider making small adjustments so that you can do the things that you really want to do. Allowing time to read, write, be creative or just languish in the sun can be important, especially during pressured periods in your life. Making that time available can do wonders for your mental health too.

Here are my top five suggestions which should enable you to squeeze more fulfilling things into your timetable and stop you having to make excuses for not getting to do them. Let me know what you think of them in the comments.

1) Be more inflexible.

When people make extra demands on your time, this can affect the likelihood of you getting any time for yourself. Other people will always want a slice of your time and if you cave in to them every time, you will find that you end up sacrificing that much needed quality time which you might have spent doing a hobby or other enjoyable activity that you’ve been dying to do.

‘Can you just…?’ requests from family and friends can make you feel obliged to drop what you are doing and once more do something helpful for them. However, these time demands work both ways. It’s not unreasonable to turn it into, ‘Can I just have half an hour to do….? Then if you still haven’t managed to do it yourself, I’ll give you a hand.’ Give and take is very important and sometimes it is the only way to create personal space.

2) Use the resources available to you.

This really should be ‘make use of resources better’, because often you do duplicate tasks which can take up your time unnecessarily and just planning your time more efficiently can help you to find the time you need for YOU.

We all have things that we could do to make our lives much easier, but often we don’t plan ahead and this is why we get caught out and end up wasting valuable ME-time. Something as simple as a well planned shopping trip once a week (which could even be a supermarket delivery) can prevent multiple trips to the local shop throughout the week. So long as you’ve planned what you need to cook each day.

Having a timetable for chores and making sure that you don’t overcommit with appointments and catch-ups with friends and neighbours can help you to pave the way for more free time to do whatever it is that you really like doing.

3) Be strong.

Of course, when you have protected some time within your week to read, write or be creative in whatever form you wish, there is a temptation to treat that time as if it’s disposable, throwing it away at the first opportunity. Don’t! Let others know that you value this particular time and need space to enjoy the activity, giving it some value and authority.

Your half an hour of writing, for example, is just as important as your son’s guitar lesson or your mother’s yoga class. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

‘Mum. You’re only writing. Can you help me instead?’ is not good enough. Stand firm and look after that special time just as anyone else would.

4) Make better use of waiting time.

When waiting for an appointment, be it a Zoom meeting or a dentist checkup, there is no need to just sit there idly. Why not crack open that book, make some useful notes or do a few lines of that knitting you were wanting to get on with. Obviously, it would depend on what your preferred activity requires because you probably couldn’t get away with laying on the floor practising yoga in a busy doctor’s surgery but if your activity can be done in the space available, fill that void and make the most of any waiting time you come across.

Use that waiting time to do something you enjoy.

5) Enjoy every moment!

If you do value your allocated time and give it some importance then make sure you spend it doing something that truly relaxes you. I wouldn’t consider doing something just because your best friend does it a good idea, on the whole. Your best friends may enjoy jogging but if you go running and get no pleasure out of it, you’re not going to enjoy the experience and it won’t boost your mood. Maybe you would much prefer doing a workout video in the privacy of your sitting room.

This is something that I experienced when my mates started doing couch-to-5K runs and I found the whole thing awkward and painful. After trying home workouts instead I found I felt less stressed about it and it made my ME-time fit in with what I felt comfortable doing. After all, ME-time has to be all about ME. Well YOU in this case.

I hope that these simple reflections help you to reflect upon your daily routine. Maybe there are manageable things that you can do in order to claim back some time for yourself and make sure that others understand how important that time is to you. We all need some ME-time otherwise our mental health can start to suffer. We can’t just spend all of our awake time being slaves to society.

If you have any thoughts about this, please share them in the comments below. Perhaps consider following my blog more of the same type of articles.