When it comes to editing your own writing whether it is for school, articles or book publication trying to make sure you're work is up to a high standard is difficult. Our minds work in a way that can trick us into not seeing bold errors without a fresh pair of eyes. Which is why many people recommend getting a family member, friend, or even a professional editor to look over your work in order to check it for any mistakes.
But what do you do if you have a very short deadline and don't have time to get another pair of eyes on your work before you submit it?
Here are 5 top tips to help you edit your work to a high standard.
1. Print it off
This may sound simple enough and even excessive if you are having to submit your work online so it makes sense to keep it on the computer. But when it comes to reading on a screen and on paper. Our minds can focus entirely on the written word when it is printed out in front of you as errors cannot simply be erased. Instead you can keep coming back to them and scribble all over the piece of paper until you have the final phrasing that you are happy with. Keep printing it out until you cannot find any errors in your work.
2. Change the colour of the page
Don't have a printer? Well another way to see your document in a new way is changing the page colour, this helps the mind focus on errors instead of skimming over simple spelling errors that our mind can make us blind to.
3. Increase font size
Increasing the font size temporarily can mean you focus on each sentence one bit at a time. Once you are done with that section, decrease the size back down to the desired sizing. This way is time consuming but it make you focus on smaller sections as you are not looking at the document as a whole.
4. Keep the font style simple
A very common mistake is to stylise the document before it is complete and picking to type in a fancy font before completely finishing and editing the document to perfection. But making the work attractive in the first step means many spelling and grammar mistakes are missed leaving huge errors for everyone can see. Can you remember any adverts out there that have very obvious errors? Always put content over style.
5. Keep calm
Worrying too much about errors in your work will make you see errors where there isn't any. Once you have finished your initial drafts take a break, go make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, watch a bit of TV or browse the internet. After 15 minutes come back to the document and read it through without touching your keyboard, only highlight sections you wish to change. Then once you have done your first read through, go back to the beginning and make your changes. Guess what you do next? Start this process all over again until it feel perfect. Remember your mind needs a break to forget what you meant so that you can see the errors.
I hope this helps you, however, if you feel you need another pair of eyes to look over your work then please do not hesitate to contact me via the contact form.