I’ve always been a writer. I love the process of creating something from nothing, and I love how writing lets you tell a story or express yourself.
Recently, my editor asked me to write about my writing process for this blog. At first, I hesitated, because when you’re in the middle of writing something it can be hard to step back and see what you’re actually doing.
If you know how to ride a bicycle, but someone was to ask you how exactly you do it, would you be able to explain? But she pushed me on it (she’s good at that), so here goes…
|1. Iterative Approach: Embrace an iterative writing process that includes drafting, revising, and proofreading stages to refine your content.|
|2. Effective Editing: Focus on structural clarity, coherence, and grammar during the editing phase to enhance the overall readability of your work.|
|3. Proofreading Precision: Prioritize meticulous proofreading to catch typos, spelling errors, and punctuation mistakes that might have been overlooked.|
|4. Outside Perspective: Seek feedback from peers or professionals to gain fresh insights and improve the quality of your writing.|
|5. Consistency Matters: Ensure consistent style, tone, and formatting throughout your content to maintain a cohesive and polished final piece.|
Consistency Is Key
Consistency is key. Consistency in your editing and proofreading means that you should be keeping a consistent style throughout all the documents that you are working on at a given time.
If you have multiple documents open at once and one of them has a different style from the others, it’s hard to keep track of things. This can lead to confusion, mistakes, or even just annoyance when you see two or three different styles for something in one document.
Consistency in writing also means using the same words consistently throughout your document(s). For instance, if I’m writing about “the dog,” then I’ll call it “the dog” every single time instead of switching back and forth between calling it “a dog” and calling it “the canine.”
Consistency helps readers stay engaged because they know what’s coming next and they can expect what will happen next based on past experiences with this writer (who has been consistent!).
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Create The Right Environment
If you are serious about writing, then you need to create the right environment for it.
Here is a list of some things that can help:
Find a quiet place. This will help you focus on your work without being distracted by sounds from outside or inside your home or office.
If possible, find a comfortable place where you won’t be disturbed by people walking in and out of the room. If possible, find a place where there aren’t many distractions (like TV).
Find a comfortable chair or couch (or bed!) so that your body feels good while working on whatever project(s) are currently at hand.
Make sure that this chair doesn’t have arms if they’re distracting and if they do have arms but aren’t comfortable enough not to disturb your concentration, get rid of them!
I’ve heard that armchairs are best because they give us something soft against which we can rest our forearms when typing;
However, if all else fails then go with whatever works best for each writer’s needs here whether it’s an old-fashioned wooden chair or even just lying down somewhere while listening through headphones connected directly into their ears…you know what I mean?
Use Visuals If You Need To
As a writer and editor, I’ve found that visuals can be a great way to help people understand your point. If you’re trying to explain the steps in a process or the structure of an argument, use a flowchart or diagram or even just some brightly colored Post-It notes on your wall!
If you’re struggling with how to organize your ideas, try using mind maps. Start with one central idea that’s in the middle of the page (this could be something like “How do we solve this problem?”).
Then go around it and write down all related concepts as branches from that central idea. You may end up with something like this:
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Have A Goal Of How Much You Want To Write Or Edit Every Day
Set a daily goal. Whether it’s 1,000 words or 5,000 words, make sure that you have a target number in mind for the day.
Set a weekly goal. A good target for most writers is 2-5k per week (if you’re writing at least 3k per week, this means your average should be about 1k). After hitting this target for a few weeks in a row, increase it to 3-5k per week.
If this is too hard or too easy for you then adjust accordingly but note that if you don’t have any idea how much time and effort it takes to reach these goals then setting them will be difficult!
Decide what your monthly goal is. If writing 2-3 times per month isn’t enough motivation for you to write more often then try setting an even higher monthly quota (I usually shoot somewhere around 5-10k/month).
Again: take stock of how much time and effort writing takes before deciding on something like this! You don’t want to commit yourself when there’s little chance of success because then there’ll just end up being disappointment all around 🙂
When Writing The First Draft, Don’t Edit As You Go Along
Writing is a creative process. It’s not just an act of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), but also a process of discovery, learning, and self-discovery.
In this sense, writing can be likened to painting or sculpting: it’s an expression of the author’s inner world that allows him or her to get closer to his or her truth about life and its many complexities.
Writing is also a way for us as authors to learn more about ourselves so that we can better express our experiences in life through words on paper or screens.
Think back on all the things you have learned since you started writing essays when you were in school: did they make any difference in your life?
Write For Yourself
When you write for yourself, you will be much more likely to find joy in words and writing again. Writing for yourself is a way of creating a practice that allows you to get your thoughts onto the page, no matter how messy or organized they may be.
I don’t know about you but when I am writing for myself and my pleasure, it’s much easier for me to stay focused on what I want to say rather than trying too hard to make sense of everything. At least, this has been my experience so far!
Writing for yourself also helps with finding ideas because there is no pressure from editors or publishers telling you what not to write about; instead, there are only guidelines that help steer the writing process along while still giving the writer room within those guidelines.
This means that if an idea comes up during your time spent in your home office/library/wherever-it-is-that-you-write then by all means go ahead and explore it further!
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Don’t Overthink Your Writing
You shouldn’t worry about what other people will think of your writing. Just write in a way that’s natural to you, and don’t overthink it.
You can’t please everyone; some people may not like the way you write or edit. But if you’re writing for yourself and not for an audience, then it doesn’t matter what other people think of your work–which means that all of this advice is completely irrelevant!
I know this sounds crazy. It sounds crazy because it IS crazy! Writing for fun is different from writing professionally, but I think we can take some lessons from both worlds into our projects and improve them by doing so.
When Editing, Focus On One Thing At A Time
When editing, focus on one thing at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Instead of taking on multiple tasks at once, set priorities and focus your attention where it matters most.
For example, if you are writing a blog post and an article for the same company, then prioritize the blog post since it is more urgent than the article.
On the other hand, if you are working on two articles for different companies then prioritize whichever has been given priority by their respective clients first before moving on to work on another piece of writing from them (assuming there is no overlap).
Use our tips below to help you manage your time for editing projects effectively:
Remember That Editing For Yourself And Editing For Others Are Very Different Things
Remember that editing for yourself and editing for others are very different things.
Editing your work is an opportunity to improve the quality of your writing you can check for grammar, spelling, flow, and all other types of structural issues that might otherwise get overlooked in the rush to get words on the page.
However, when you edit for someone else (or even just a friend), you need to remember that what matters most is making sure your reader understands what you’re trying to say.
While it may be easy to notice that “the cat sat on the mat” would be better written as “the cat sat on top of the mat” when we read our writing out loud (and then change it accordingly).
We often miss such mistakes when we read silently at our desks before handing off something important like homework assignments or legal documents.
This is why I always suggest getting another set of eyes on any important documents before sending them out into the world it doesn’t matter if these are papers written by students or reports submitted by employees;
They should always be checked over before they go out into circulation because there could be errors lurking within them!
Remove All Distractions When Proofreading
The last step in the proofreading process is to remove all distractions and do something else. This will allow you to focus on what you have written, even though it may be hard at first. If you find that this is difficult, there are some strategies you can use:
Take a break. Taking a break from your work gives your mind time to rest and re-focus, which will make it easier for you to read through your writing with fresh eyes later on.
Do something else entirely unrelated to writing or editing until later in the day or week when refreshed by sleeping or taking care of other responsibilities such as childcare duties (as long as these things aren’t distracting).
Don’t proofread on a computer screen; print out the document so that there’s no temptation to jump onto social media sites or text friends while trying not only to find errors but also perhaps correct them yourself before asking someone else if they’ve found any issues with what they’ve written too!
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Take Breaks During The Proofreading Process To Keep Your Mind Fresh
Allowing yourself to take a break is important for your health and well-being. Taking breaks during the proofreading process allows you to stay focused.
Avoid burnout and decrease mistakes. Breaks also help you be more creative, productive, efficient, and even more effective in your work.
You Can’t Edit Or Proofread In A Vacuum
If you’re writing, editing, or proofreading in a vacuum, it can be hard to know what’s working and what’s not.
You need feedback from others to help you understand if your writing is clear, effective, and persuasive.
Feedback can come from the following:
Your audience – Find out who they are and how they feel about your topic. Ask them questions like “Can you quickly summarize what I’ve written here?” or “What do you think the main point of this piece was?”. Then listen closely as they answer.
The reader – Watch people read one of your pieces aloud (or have them read it silently), then ask yourself how easy or difficult it was for them to understand what was being said.
The client – Are they understanding everything that needs to be understood? Is there anything missing from the copy that should be included? Do they approve of how things look visually when using their chosen font/layout combination?
Ask A Friend If They Can Work Through Your List Of Questions
As you write and edit your paper, there will be some parts that are pretty easy to read. You’ll have no trouble understanding the topic or writing style.
It might be so clear that you won’t even think about needing someone else to proofread your work. But if you do have questions about anything in the paper, now is a good time to ask them!
Ask a friend (or two) to read through your list of questions and mark up any errors they notice with an “X” in the margin next to each one. This will help make sure you don’t miss anything important when editing on your own later on.
If there are parts of your writing that make perfect sense but still confuse or concern you like grammar points or organization mark those sections with an asterisk.
You can talk through these issues as well when asking for feedback from others; however, since every writer is different, I recommend taking notes instead of typing them into Google Docs so they’re easy for all parties involved:
Challenge Your Assumptions About Each Piece Of Writing Advice
The most important thing to remember when you’re trying to improve your writing is that there are no right or wrong answers. Your ideas about what makes good writing will change over time. This is just a fact of life, and it’s something I’ve experienced myself many times.
When I started out writing professionally, I thought the key was to use as few words as possible to make every sentence count, so to speak. But then my friend introduced me to Ernest Hemingway, and everything changed.
Now I think lengthier sentences are better because they give the reader more time to absorb their meaning before moving on; they also help create an emotional connection between reader and writer by allowing us both time for reflection (even if only subconsciously).
And then there’s Stephen King’s advice: “Write with nouns and verbs.” What does that even mean? Does it mean use shorter sentences? Or longer ones? Or… both?
I’ve learned that there are no right or wrong answers here either; this kind of advice can help guide our thinking in useful ways but should never be taken literally. Instead, we need experimentation and lots of practice!
Writing, Editing And Proofreading Are Complex Tasks
Writing, editing, and proofreading are complex tasks. There are many different ways to approach each of them. You may find that your writing process varies from day to day.
Some days you might write an entire essay in one sitting, while other days you might need multiple revisions before getting it right. The same goes for editing and proofreading as well!
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That’s my writing and editing process! I’m still learning new tips and tricks every day, but my core process hasn’t changed much over the years.
I hope this article has given you some ideas on how you could improve your processes – or that it at least helped you understand why some of these tips work so well.
Expand your understanding of writing, editing, and proofreading with these additional resources:
Editing and Proofreading Tips Learn effective strategies for refining your writing through thorough editing and proofreading.
Revising, Editing, and Proofreading Delve into the stages of the writing process, including comprehensive guidance on revising, editing, and proofreading your work.
The Importance of Editing and Proofreading Before Manuscript Submission Explore the critical role that editing and proofreading play in ensuring the quality and accuracy of your manuscript before submission.
How can I improve my editing skills?
Enhancing your editing skills involves practicing with a critical eye, focusing on grammar, clarity, and coherence. Seeking feedback from peers or utilizing online editing resources can also aid your improvement journey.
Why is proofreading important in writing?
Proofreading ensures the final text is free from errors, enhancing its professionalism and credibility. It helps catch typos, grammar mistakes, and formatting inconsistencies that may have been missed during the writing process.
What is the difference between editing and revising?
Editing involves refining language, structure, and clarity, while revising focuses on broader content and organization changes. Editing fine-tunes the writing, while revising involves making substantive improvements to the content.
Can editing and proofreading benefit non-native English writers?
Absolutely. Effective editing and proofreading are crucial for non-native English writers to enhance language accuracy and convey ideas clearly. Engaging with these processes can elevate the quality of their written communication.
Are there online tools for editing and proofreading?
Yes, there are numerous online tools and software available to assist with editing and proofreading tasks. These tools can help identify spelling and grammar errors, suggest sentence improvements, and enhance overall writing quality.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.