By: Amanda Fort
Editing can be a bit annoying and difficult when you don’t know where to start. Editing is so important to any piece of writing, whether it be a creative writing piece or a research paper for your literature class. Editing looks different for different people, but here’s how I go about editing my own work. Hopefully, this will help you!
I recommend downloading Grammarly or another word processor editing program. We all think we’re good at grammar until Grammarly comes in to remind us how much we missed. It does a great job of catching minor spelling mistakes or punctuation errors. If you want to pay for premium, it can detect changes in the active or passive voice, which are more important in research papers than some creative writing projects.
Next, I double-check my flow of ideas by rereading my piece and paying close attention to my thesis or theme. By keeping your original idea in mind, you can decide later if any paragraphs or sentences are necessary or not. This part can be difficult because we never want to delete our hard work, but it’s an exercise of restraint and will only improve your writing skill in the long run. If you’re scared you’ll want your deleted work, just copy and paste it into what I call a “garbage doc”. It’s a document where I paste all of the writing I couldn’t fit into my other stuff, to potentially recycle into something else. It works, too, because some lines I had to cut from some poems were the starts or ends of others.
Last, I make sure my formatting is right and everything looks good. Here, it takes a bit of a trained eye to notice if something is amiss. Creative writing is a bit more forgiving in this sense, but research papers are more difficult. Sometimes citations we copy from Easybib or other citation generators are wrong, and depending on your instructor, you could lose points. I recommend researching the citation style on Purdue Owl because those sites are the most accurate. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
One last special tip is that I love to ask my friends to read over my work. Even though my work makes sense to me, it doesn’t always make sense to other people. Ask your friends or family members to give your work a quick read through because it could help a lot!
Good luck in your writing adventures and happy editing!