How to Edit Writing Professionally: Editing Tips for Editors

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How can I improve editing? What skills are needed to be an editor? 6 Tips on becoming a better editor and writer.

How to write better? The answer to that question lies in understanding the importance of editing and grammar proofreading. But what is editing and proofreading exactly? And how do they influence the reassurance and credibility of a write-up?

To understand this, imagine a scenario where your write-up is just a basic email for your boss or client. You’re genuinely ill (or probably faking it) and can’t turn up for work the next day. You need to send an email right away. What do you do?

You prepare a draft, write down the details, check if there are any mistakes, and probe one more time just in case you’ve missed out on anything. If you’re still in doubt, you’ll probably ask your close aide (at home or office) to run over it. If there are any mistakes, you edit them and finally send it.

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You go through all this trouble because you want the recipient to believe that you’re sick (even if you aren’t) and can’t come in for work. If all goes well, your boss accepts your leave and your job is done—there’s your reassurance and credibility as mentioned earlier.

proofreading and editing

However, make mistakes and send your leave request without performing a check and you might find yourself at the other end of the stick.

The processes of checking for inconsistencies and making changes to the final draft (if there are any) are called proofreading and editing respectively. Both apply to every form of writing and are recommended for error-free content. But the truth is, not all writers practice proofreading and editing.

Like it or not, you better be getting used to the practice of editing and proofreading. Or if you already know how to get better at both. Whatever the scenario, the following rulebook will walk you through popular editing techniques and tips for proofreading.

Improve Your Writing: Here’s What You Will Learn About Proofreading Techniques and Self-Editing

  • Difference between editing and proofreading
  • Editing tips for writers
  1. First Thing’s First—Plan Ahead

Every job requires planning. It doesn’t matter how big the task is. Breaking down the approach into simpler steps allows you to tackle it with ease.

The same planning applies to writing and editing as well. Planning can be understood as editing writing process. And you won’t have to spend hours planning—that’s the best part. Just take 5 minutes organizing your thoughts and listing them as subheadings.

Random thoughts and ideas on your mind out of nowhere? Don’t ignore them. Just list them and see if they can be put under a particular subheading.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a book writer, writing fiction, or editing a novel; once you get the organization right, you won’t have to go back and forth throughout your article giving it a structure.

Also See: Every, Each, All, Some, Any Explained: When to Use

  1. A Write-Up’s Journey

You need to pause for a moment here before getting into the details of editing your writing. The reason why you need to do this is that, just like you, there are others with whom you can collaborate to prepare the final draft of a write-up.

You need to know more about them as they can be hired. Apart from the publishers, writers must get their work evaluated by editors, proofreaders, and copywriters. However, writers can be all three, assuming that they are skilled enough in each department. Here’s a look at their profiles that’ll further describe their roles:

  • Editing

An editor’s job is to go through the text and improve the overall style and flow. They have the license to delete or add text in order to declutter the write-up and disperse any vagueness.

Of course, they’re also allowed to correct grammatical and spelling mistakes along the way, but they’re more focused on adding sense to the write-up.

  • Proofreading

If your objective is to proofread essay, or any written material for that matter, you’ll have to look out for grammatical errors and punctuation’s. That’s the proofreader’s role. They do this once the final draft has been prepared after editing.

  • Copyediting

Copyediting or sub-editing proofreads whilst ensuring that the style pays special attention—and is close as possible— to those of a publication. They’re expert fact-checkers too whilst being specialized in particular fields.

Check Out: Difference Between How About You and What About You

  1. Editing Sentences Littered with Punctuations

While editing and revising, check for abuse of punctuation marks. Same goes for editing paragraphs as well. The power of punctuation marks must be harnessed to simplify ideas for the readers.

A comma here, a semi-colon there can be used effectively to bring pauses and halts. This is helpful for the readers as they also get a breather to gather their thoughts, reflect on what you’ve written, understand the story so far, and move on.

  1. Chop and Edit Your Own Writing

This pointer can be categorized under creative writing tips, or if you want to know how to write a good book. The first editing rule on how to make edits is breaking up long sentences.

Many a time, long sentences are overloaded with information. You can of course use punctuations to bring in a pause. But a sentence that doesn’t end, and is riddled with punctuation brings in too many short pauses and confuses the reader with a surplus of information to process.

Just like you’re reading individual points on this list and processing them one by one, break down your sentences too and let them stand alone.

Must Read: Why You Should Read Every Day: 10 Benefits of Reading

  1. How to Edit Writing Professionally?

Did you say “Polish my writing”? Well, that’s possible if you follow editing process steps and writing tips that involve voice and adverbs.

Adverbs are a big ‘no’ when it comes to writing and proof-editing because they make your write-up too wordy. For instance, instead of saying “Anne was feeling too hungry”, you can say “Anne was famished”. As a rule, refrain from using excessive words at all times.

The choice of voice is another point to keep in mind in editing tips for editors. You should use either the first person or second person throughout. Using both is also allowed, but if you keep switching between the two time and again, reading becomes unpleasant.

  1. What Is Editing? The Lazy Side That Needs to Go Once and For All

Paper editors, essay editors, writing editors, grammar editors, and sentence editors; all have one trait in common when it comes to immaculate editing—doing away with the word “thing”.

The word “thing” is often slipped into writing because a more descriptive and unique word couldn’t be thought of. Use of this word highlights the lazy side of a writer. Instead of writing “pass that thing on the table”, mention what you actually want to be passed on.

See: 10 Crucial Tips Every Freelance Writer Should Know

“Edit my essay” or “proofread my paper” is convenient to say when you have professionals to edit paper, and have time and money at your disposal. While that’s okay because you’re employing professionals, you should shoulder the responsibility and do it yourself.

You’re going be entangled in some form of writing throughout your life so it’s best you learn the trade of proofreading and editing yourself.

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