Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Important editing advice I disobey every day

It's generally not a good idea for a writer to be the final editor of her or his own work. After days, weeks or years of thinking about and staring at words on paper or on a PC screen, it's easy to think words are there that are really in your head, and to miss repeated words and other major goofs or little gremlins.

Important work deserves a professional editor, or maybe even two.

But before it goes to the pros, let anyone who happens to be handy read it to you -- out loud -- and see if he or she stumbles or notices anything weird that you didn't pick up.

For something with a tight deadline or that's less important than a book or magazine article that will sit around for a long time with your name on it -- such as a blog or a website item that you can easily change -- you can skip the professional editing and just let the convenient unpaid amateur read it to you.

I write five blogs a day. I usually start around 3:30AM and finish by five or six. My wife would be really pissed-off if I woke her up to read to me.

And even during normal business hours she's often pissed-off when she reads what I've written, so I just have to trust my own editing ability.

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