7 Tips for How to Edit Your Writing

Did someone forget to proofread?

Did someone forget to proofread?

Proofreading is one of the most vital or important parts of the writing process. A piece of writing, free of errors, is the optimal accomplishment. Knowing how to edit is important to effectively communicating as a writer. For example…

You can be reading a fascinating piece of work. Then, their’s a typo. Amistake. It ruins the credibility of the writer, and the reader experience. Can you spot the mistakes?

Try these 7 tips for how to edit you writing:

  1. Look at work as a whole – Concentrate first on the organization, focus and theme of your writing. Before editing sentence structure, make sure your writing has the message you want to convey.
  2. Set it aside– Don’t try to proofread as soon as you finish a draft. Walk away from the draft for at least 15 minutes before attempting to edit. This way, you can clear your mind a bit and come back with fresher eyes.
  3. Print out your writing– Reading on a computer screen is difficult. It boggles my mind that Kindles are such a huge success; a paperback book is always my preference! For the eyes, it’s often less straining to read from a piece of paper. When you print out your work, use a red pen to correct mistakes or adjust wording so that you can notice your corrections immediately.
  4. Read the text aloud– Try to read each word as it is written on the page, not what you THINK you wrote. You thought of the sentence, “The dog is fluffy.” You actually wrote “The dog s fluffy.” You know what you are trying to say and may read the second sentence as “The dog is fluffy.” Reading slowly and paying attention to each word will help catch mistakes.
  5. Have someone else look at your work- A second pair of eyes is an amazing tool to use when proofreading. The outside reader can provide valuable feedback if something doesn’t make sense to them. It could be a word, a sentence or an idea. It will be clear to you as the writer, but an outsider who has general knowledge of your topic should also be able to understand your writing.
  6. Use a dictionarySale and sail. They are both words that are spelled correctly. However, if I wrote “The 50 percent off sail was amazing,” spell check will not (and did not) catch that mistake. It should be “The 50 percent off sale was amazing.” A dictionary is a fantastic tool to use in instances when you are unsure if a store’s promotion is a sail or a sale.
  7. Proofreading ChecklistMake a personal checklist– From previous writing, you will know what types of mistakes you typically make. Pay special attention to those. Is it forgetting a period at the end of a sentence? Maybe homonyms (to, too, two) are your downfall. Making a list and checking specifically for those mistakes will greatly help eradicate them from your writing.

Do you use a proofreading technique not included in this list? Let us know!

We love to proofread 🙂 Need a second editor? Start writing with ESL Write Away today!

By Ally Evans

 

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The Importance of a First Line

The best day of her life was also the worst day of her life. Exhausted, tears chased each other down her cheeks, and while a smile threaded her lips it did not quite reach her eyes.

clip-art-reading-556419Are you still reading? Then the first line has done its job!

Has anyone ever told you, “Once you get past the first few chapters, this book is awesome!”? Then that book has not delivered for its readers. The first chapter should knock the reader off his or her feet and keep them wanting more. The first line of any piece of writing should enrapture and interest. Without that initial interest, readers will not be excited to keep going.

The example used in the first lines of this post is geared more towards a creative writing piece. However, any type of writing, whether it be an essay, admission letter, research proposal or novel, deserves a killer first line.

Some ways to begin a piece of writing can include:

  • Quotations – A thought-provoking quotation that hones in on the central theme of your piece is a great way to start. Sometimes, someone has already said it best! Use their words and always give credit by putting their words in quotes, followed by the speaker’s name.
  • Questions – If you want your reader to stop and think for a moment after the first line, start with a question. If you are writing a college admission essay about the importance of a family recipe, you may want to ask the reader “Do you remember the aroma of your favorite food growing up? That feeling of family, and the anticipation of the delicious dish that is about to tickle your taste buds?” The reader should experience a more sensory attachment to your writing, and most importantly continue reading.
  • 9781599869513_p0_v1_s260x420In medias resIn medias res is Latin for “into the middle of a narrative; without preamble” according to dictionary.com. Oedipus the King is a famous example of in medias res. As the story begins, Oedipus steps out of the royal palace of Thebes and is greeted by a procession of priests, who are in turn surrounded by the impoverished and sorrowful citizens of Thebes. Thebes has been struck by a plague, the citizens are dying, and no one knows how to put an end to it. There is no preamble to introduce Oedipus or his city; by starting in the middle of the action the reader is intrigued to both learn the back-story of Oedipus and the future of Thebes and its King.
  • Images – A descriptive adjective is a vivid way to begin a piece. You can describe candlelight flickering, a torch’s firelight dancing, or a match’s top struggling to give it beholder enough warmth.

What is your favorite way to deliver a first line? Happy Writing!

By Ally Evans

Ally Evans is a recent college graduate living in New Jersey. She is currently a Festival Coordinator for an arts program. When she is not at the office, Ally loves reading, writing, playing volleyball and going out to eat with friends. Her favorite books include The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas; The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and The Shining by Stephen King. She is excited to bring her passion for reading and writing to ESL Write Away LLC!

Welcome!

Welcome to the ESL Write Away LLC blog! Have a question about writing? Submit it on our Contact page and we’ll write about it here. Looking for general tips or strategies for any aspect of writing? Look no further! Just need some helpful tools? Check out our Resources page!

We look forward to helping you to be the best writer in English that you can be 🙂