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Edit, you Idiot

I can't even count on my fingers AND toes how many times I've seen work that evidently hasn't been proofread or edited at least once. I get it, writers. I do. You're excited about sharing your work. People are waiting for updates on Figment, Wattpad, your blog, and you don't want them to forget about you, so you rush your stuff. Or maybe you just don't have the time and have a personal deadline to meet, so you skip the vigorous editing.

Let me tell you something - most readers are perfectionists and will be put off by the slightest error, especially spelling mistakes. I, for example, am easily put off by writing errors (including my own, grrr). People misunderstand what being a writer is all about. You don't just write the book and jump to the finish line. That's never how it works. A writer is not just a writer. A writer is an editor, a marketer, an artist and a businessman. Finishing the first draft is the first milestone. A lot of people say that's the easiest part.

I am constantly editing my work. I'll draft a chapter, then I'll go back and edit an old one. Every time a suggestion is made, I edit it there and then. If I haven't read an old chapter in a few weeks, I'll go back, reread it and rewrite it. I do this because I've read my stuff so many times, my eyes pass over the same mistakes, so it's important to spend a lot of time dissecting your work and making sure you've corrected every little error. Your writing will never be perfect for everyone, but if you can fix it to the point of your own satisfaction (and a little beyond) then that's a job well done in my books.

Think of it this way - when you pronounce something wrong during conversation and someone notices (or if they're an asshole, they'll probably point it out), it's mortifying, right? So why not take that much extra care on paper?

Here are a few of my own editing tips:

  1. Read back over your stuff after a few weeks, so it's a little new to you.
  2. Print it out, or maybe even order a proof copy on CreateSpace. You'll read it differently in print.
  3. Get yourself a few beta readers or critique partners. (Best decision I made for my writing.)
  4. Read your stuff out loud. Listen to the words and how they connect. Take out any unnecessary filler words. 

That's it, folks. I hope this post has given you a little insight into the importance of editing your work. Now go away and write some badass shit, you precious little storytellers.