Last time, we discussed the best way to use self-awareness during the drafting process.  Today, we’ll explore the best ways for self-aware writers to edit their work to make it the strongest it can be.

The Self-Aware Editor

This is one area of the writing process where you want your powers of self-awareness at full power.  Once you’ve completed a draft of your manuscript that you feel is the best version, you’ll want to give yourself a little break – maybe a week – and return to it with fresh eyes.

This distancing will help you focus more on the technical task before you: Editing the manuscript.

Editing is a multi-layered activity, so taking your time is important.  Don’t skim through the manuscript.  You’ll want to read each sentence, paragraph, and chapter with an eye for spelling and grammar errors, continuity issues, plot holes, and parts of storylines you cut that you missed.  

One good way to stay focused is to read the manuscript aloud.  This will help you stay in the story and also help you detect any issues with the flow of the writing.  If it’s hard for you to read a sentence out loud or it doesn’t make sense, then it would be difficult for a reader to comprehend.  These are things you’ll want to change.

When you do find yourself losing focus, take a break.  Attempting to edit a novel in one afternoon is definitely not recommended.  You want to ensure you are awake, focused, and uninterrupted.

Consider carving out time and limiting how many pages you edit per session.  If you have a 500-page manuscript, only edit 50 pages daily or less.  The key is to give your mind the energy and focus it needs to weed out any issues that can detract from the reader’s experience.  

Self-Aware, But Too Busy?

The ability to be self-aware enough to know you won’t be able to give the manuscript the attention it needs at this stage is also the sign of a mature writer.  You understand that while editing needs to be done, you can’t give it the time it needs.  

In this case, you can outsource it to an editing company.  These resources offer various services, from basic spelling and grammar editing to more in-depth manuscript edits.  But please be aware: these can cost a lot of money, so shop around.  

But, if you can, find the time to do it yourself, even if it’s a few pages a day.  After all, only you truly know and understand your story, and you’re the best person to make the necessary edits.

Up Next…

You did it.  The edits are done.  You’re tired, and your brain feels like mush, but you have cranked out a solid draft of your story that you are proud of.  The time has come to let another set of eyes read your work.  To give your baby to another who can provide you with feedback on what you’ve written.

Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!

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