Putting those words on paper while still under the charm of inspiration is a great idea. Do not let your thoughts go away. Give them life even in the middle of the night, at that airport, while waiting for your date at a restaurant, or even while travelling on a train.
The whole process is fascinating and feels even exhilarating. However, that is just the first step. Those creative thoughts might not come often and you should not just leave them like that. You should invest and expand on them, the same way that you take care of a plant, to make it grow healthy and give its fruit.
This involves some more writing and most importantly: editing. Editing your own work can be challenging, as it is hard to have an objective look at your writing. Deleting sentences can even be difficult. However, in order to produce something of value and meaning, with a legacy even for third parties, you should give the editing and polishing processes their due.
How to edit your own writing? Seven useful tips!
- Detach yourself for some days after you write your last sentence. You might feel too involved in your writing and in the story, especially if you have already spent some time to finish that book. This involvement makes it difficult for you to view your writing critically and focus on style, sentence structure and grammar. You will see that in a few days, you will look at it with an examiner eye.
- Diversify the medium of reading your work. Sometimes it is useful to have it printed, go over it with a pen and then incorporate your changes in the electronic format. Afterwards, you can take a look at it electronically again and see if it makes sense. Having your work printed can also help you proofread it better.
- Do not attempt at editing it all at once. Try to edit a few pages at a time. If you feel that your concentration is decreasing, then this means that it is time to take a break and resume later.
- If you are not sure where to begin editing, then my tip is to start from the sentences that are the most obvious to you. Sometimes, you may not know how the editing process will go, but you already have some idea on certain parts of the book, or even certain blocks of writing. Begin from there, and then you will see how slowly, all the pieces will unravel themselves, and become clear to you like a mosaic which is work in progress.
- Establish your own writing style. Each author has its unique style, which gives the work its special touch. A consistency in that style is the key. Try not to lose that essence while editing. For example, if your style is to have long descriptive passages with many adjectives, then do not omit all of them in one part and keep them in another. However, if your style combines laconic with adjective loaded writing, then feel free to do that, as long as you do that throughout the whole writing piece. It is up to you to establish your own writing brand and signature.
- Omit any redundancies, or repetitive words. There is always room to use synonyms, in order to make your writing more colorful. A good thesaurus can always come to help if you are struggling to find the right nuanced word.
- Proofread and polish your grammar at the text. Some writers may not be as attentive on this part, as they are fully invested into the content and the story plot. However, a writing with grammar errors and typos, does not leave a good impression to the reader, shadowing your beautiful creative content. Sometimes, if the grammar errors are too frequent, it might even interfere with the meaning, obscuring the passages. Giving it to a third party to review this part can also help a lot, especially if you are not a native speaker of the language you are writing.
Writing is a process that can be rejuvenating, but also consuming at the same time, especially during the editing process. However, you should not let that stop you! Great ideas and stories deserve to be shared. With only a few tips and tricks, you will manage to make the editing process much less painful and to produce a work of great worth.