How to Edit Your Own Writing like a Pro
Here are three great ways to edit your own writing—quickly and successfully.
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HemingwayApp lets you reflect on your writing. Re-read HemingwayApp’s suggestions to learn from its critique. You don’t have to take the suggestions, of course. But just having the suggestions will help you learn to refine your style.
But of course, we can’t rely completely on robots to fix our writing completely. Even editors who have been successfully absorbed by the Borg aren’t completely reliable. That’s because you have your own, unique voice. You want your writing to sound like you, not HemingwayApp. You’ll do one more revision with a different outside source of help: your own voice.
Read Aloud to Find Problems
Read your writing out loud to an imaginary member of your target audience. Listen to how your writing sounds in your external voice, not just your internal voice. They’re different. Your external voice is the one that says, “No, thank you, I don’t want the last piece of Oreo ice cream cake” while your internal voice is the one that says “Give it to me NOW!! I want it! I want it all!!! hisssssss.”
Your internal voice, that mini-you in your head that says the words on the page, will reinforce how you want to hear your writing. But your external voice is how your writing sounds to the real world. You’ll hear confusing sentences and grammatical errors… which, of course, you’ve been training yourself to detect by using HemingwayApp.
When we’re in our heads, we can’t edit objectively, even though the writing has to turn out right anyway.
You’ll also hear where the cadence doesn’t match spoken rhythm. Bernice read aloud: “We are gratified that your Holiday shopping choice has been Green Growing Things this holiday season.” Yeah. Real people talk like that all the time. Er, nope. Just not right. So she rewrote. “Thank you for shopping at Green Growing Things this year! We appreciate your business!" Perfect! When her million email subscribers read her email, it will sound just like her.
While nothing can replace a real, live editor (until they perfect lifelike robotic dolls), you can still whip your writing into shape. Edit your drafts side-by-side so you capture everything you want to write, while still picking and choosing the best. Use HemingwayApp to find hard-to-read sentences. And read aloud. It got you through first grade successfully, and it will get you through your adult writing responsibilities, too. … What a scary thought.
This is Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. I run webinars and other programs to help people be Extraordinarily Productive, and build extraordinary careers. If you want to know more, visit SteverRobbins.com.
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