I’m so grateful for good editing and good editors. I think the editing stage makes such a big difference—converting an okay or just good article into something really worth reading.
It’s also helpful to talk about the content with an editor, to discuss how your ideas are coming across and how they might be perceived by readers. This is especially important if the topic is controversial, as one of these two articles is.
Not to blow my own horn or anything but I’m a good editor—I can re-organize someone else’s writing, spot the clichés, smooth out the prose, and help the writer craft what he or she wants to say.
But it’s really hard to edit your own words. You can be an excellent editor for someone else but not be able to do good editing on your own work. I find that something will niggle me about a story I submit but I won’t be able to figure out what’s wrong with it.
Which makes me even more grateful to be working with perceptive and skilled editors who help me bring my writing to the next level.
If you’re not able to find good editing, and you need to edit your own work, what do you do?
- Shorten your sentences: We all make the mistake of writing sentences that are too long. Not every sentence needs to be short but chances are you can tighten up your prose by shorting your sentences.
- Pay attention to your verbs: Verbs matter. If you can, delete the adverbs and choose strong, interesting verbs instead.
- Have only 1 idea per paragraph: You have a lot to say! We all do. But you confuse the reader if you have too many ideas in the same paragraph. If you have 3 ideas in one paragraph, make that paragraph into 3 separate ones.
Published: May 24, 2010
Updated: January 11, 2020