Chances are when we settle down to edit what we’ve written, we are extremely familiar with it. We know what’s coming, and it’s this intimate knowledge that creates editing issues for us. Missing word? No problem. Our mind understands what we meant. The problem is, the reader may not be so clever.
One key to editing your text is to make it look new and different in some way. How you do that is up to you, but let me give you a few suggestions:
- Print your text on colored paper.
- Change the size and/or color of the font.
- Change the background color of the screen in your word processing program. White text on a dark background makes a huge difference.
- See it in an uncommon view, e.g., reading mode, print layout, web layout, draft view (options in MS Word).
You get the idea. Do what you can to make the text look like something you’ve never seen before, and I promise, you will get a better edit.
What editing tips do you have to share? What works well for you?
If you found this tip helpful, consider participating in the next session of the Edit Like an Expert program, which begins on November 2nd, and receive all the help you need to be your own best editor.