Writing Advice: Editing in 4 Steps

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http://www.dawtek.com.au

There’s no denying that editing is a complex and sometimes irritating process. Sometimes I think the community of writers can be divided into two camps — those who enjoy editing their work, and those who don’t. During my day job, I do a lot of editing of other people’s writing. For me, that’s much easier than editing something I’ve written myself. It can be so hard to gain distance from the words you’ve put on the page, and have the wherewithal to cut what you’ve created to pieces. Once you have that distance, though, it can be helpful to know what steps to take next. According to a post on the Writer’s Digest blog, there are four steps to editing.

In the first step, according to this post, you should perform “close-in writing.” This process consists of doing your daily writing and then, before you move on to write some more, go back and edit or revise what you wrote for the day. In the second step, which they call the “close-in edit,” you should go through your entire first draft and edit/revise it in digital form. The third step, called “the distance edit,” calls for an edit via hard copy. The fourth and final step, “the oral edit,” entails reading your story or poem aloud, and make notes where things sound awkward.

Overall, I think these steps could be very useful if followed when trying to edit a piece of writing. I find it interesting, though, that some of these steps advise editing as soon as you’ve written something, or that editing should be intertwined with the writing process. The way it has always been presented to me is that you get the writing done completely, and then you go back and look it over to edit. But that may just be my years of National Novel Writing Month talking.

Whichever method or set of steps you choose to follow, I hope that your editing process goes well! Are you in the middle of editing something right now? What methods do you use? Share your thoughts in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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