My Editing Process

I’ve edited essays until my eyes hurt, so I figured I’d break down my process to better understand how I operate. For those moments I don’t remember what to do when faced with a terrible first draft.

I tend to start from the beginning and work my way to the end. It seems the most logical to me.

I’m not sure where I’d even begin if I didn’t start with the first sentence. That being said, reading backwards is a good strategy to catch spelling mistakes.

When I’m on the computer, I make content changes. This involves cutting, rewriting, as well as moving ideas around. It’s just easier to copy and paste on a computer than on a phone.

I make edits to the content first before I get to the mechanics or the smaller but still significant details like grammar. Once I’m happy with the placement of each sentence, I move on to making everything sound better.

I almost always take a break to get away from my slightly-improved-but-still-needs-plenty-of-improvement essays. I think about anything else in the world not related to editing.

I come back with a fresher pair of eyes and a re-energized mind.

Then I do technical edits on my phone. It’s convenient because I bring my device with me everywhere I go, so I can access my essays all the time.

I play with words until I find the perfect one. Two seconds later, I resign myself to the fact that perfection is impossible. Again, I work in a chronological fashion.

I know I’m done when I try to change something but end up liking the original better. I came up with a new title once, but I ultimately went with the old one.

Editing is a time-consuming process. There aren’t any corners you can cut. Just do your best. Who knows, you may even surprise yourself when all is said and done.


My Editing Tips

  • Delete the word “that”. Because that is usually not necessary. That is rarely needed for clarity. If it is needed, by all means leave that in there. If not, get rid of that.
  • Don’t use the same word or phrase all the time. Can you believe that I used to use “then” every other sentence? My elementary teacher even told my parents about this. Then I stopped using then completely. Afterwards, I tried to switch it up, which led to many awkward sentence constructions. And later on, I learned not to rely on any one word so much. Instead I attempted to use the best word in each scenario, not the same one in all of them.
  • Discard adverbs. Like you discard trash. Quickly and efficiently.
  • Do read out loud. Because nothing is more fun than reading your work out loud. Trust me on this one.

9 Editing Tips And Techniques