Personal Editing: You Need More than a Pair of Eyes to Write Well

The art and practice of writing has gone through different transformations over the years.

Truth is, as generations unfold, there would be more changes. But regardless of how the writing process evolves, one thing that will forever be germane to brilliant writing is editing.

According to Isaac D’Israeli, ‘there is an art of reading, as well as an art of thinking, and an art of writing’. Well, we should add that there is an art of editing.

When we talk about editing, the idea that immediately comes to most people’s minds is that of someone they push their piece to, for fine-tuning and finesse. What many fail to realize is that as a writer, you are your primary editor. Editing your work properly is oftentimes the difference between good and great writing. It is in fact, one of the best services you can do to your craft.

Three Kinds of Readers

In putting words together, what we do essentially is download our thoughts and perspectives about a subject matter. But before letting it out, it is important to examine it with three other pairs of eyes – that of the passive reader, the active reader and the critical reader.

The passive reader reads, hoping that the article will work hard to be interesting enough to get and hold his or her attention. The active reader reads, with the desire to get something from the piece. The critical reader meanwhile, reads with a great attention to details – scrutinizing different aspects of your piece.

Interestingly, most of us, at some time have taken on each of these garbs. So that makes it easier.

Taking on the Reader’s Eyes

To put on these three views successfully, the first thing to do is to take your mind off the reality that you wrote the piece and read it as one written by another.

Then go through the piece with all three dispositions.

Depending on how soon what you have written needs to go out, after the first check, you should allow it to breathe (leave for a while) before reviewing again.

As you review with these inclinations, you would be able to assess your thought flow as well as the presentation, tone, intensity and consistency of the piece. You would be able to notice areas of superfluity and portions that require construction tweaks probably because your points are ambiguous, not well conveyed or simply need more emphasis. You would also be able to discover if your topic is captivating enough with content crafted engagingly.

Putting Your Piece Before Another Eyes

After your review, you can then send it out for further proofreading and (professional) editing, if necessary. Whatever be the case, you can be sure, that the work is already a great improvement from what it was initially.

In reality, the better you get at your personal editing, the more fantastic your writings turn out, when subjected to further editing.

This is how it works, if your original work is poor, without good personal editing, subsequent refinement by an editor, may only make it good, but not great. But with personal editing, you can lift it to a good piece – one that with an editor’s effort can become great.

So, if you desire to take your writing to the next level, you’d need to learn and hone the skill of personal editing.  

Get your FREE copy of my inspirational poetry chapbook, When I Became a Manhere  

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