If you’ve just accomplished your essay, you’re just halfway to the desired A+. A lot of undergrads consider their works finished when they put the last dot. But the reality is that most written projects could benefit from better editing skills. In fact, editing is an essential part of the writing process. Strong editing skills can take a primitive piece of writing to a more professional level.
You’re welcome to use online editing apps and websites to enhance your work or choose to work with a free essay editor from some trusted service. However, do not rely on free or paid grammar and spelling checkers only. Instead, ensure to work on your editing skills to hone them and be able to polish up your papers yourself. Here are some suggestions on how you can learn to edit your work like a pro.
1. Take Your Time
Whether you like it or not, editing takes time. Undoubtedly, college and university students can’t boast of having enough of it. It can be quite hard to juggle all those essays, research papers, and book review writing tasks and submit each on time. Come to grips with the fact that an editor needs time to edit each paragraph and make the best possible version of the piece at hand.
If you take time out of your day to focus on the editing part, you will get to enjoy some of the great benefits of it:
- You won’t look like an idiot when your college instructor catches an obvious error
- You will improve your writing
- Your target audience will appreciate reading a flawless work
- Your project will be more convincing and credible
Sounds like it’s not a bad idea when it comes to spending an hour or two on the editing procedures.
2. Read your content out loud
“I’m done with my paper, now it’s time to read it” That’s right! But make sure you don’t just read it but do that out loud. Thus, you will be able to identify words, word combinations, and sentences that are hard to read. Undoubtedly, they all made sense when you decided to include them at some point. However, when you read them out loud now, you realize that some of the sentences require more time to process information in the text.
As you read the paper and hear your own voice, you fix hard-to-read words and sentences, enhance the quality of your writing and thus, make sure that your target readers comprehend your message. After all, that is your main goal, right?
3. Get Distant
If you spend a lot of time writing an essay or term paper, then every time you’re done with the writing part, you need to walk away from it and forget about it for a while.
Just ensure to leave your assignment alone for 10 hours or more and get back to it to read it again. As a result, your tired brain will have some rest, reload, and you will be able to detect and fix the errors you didn’t see before. Plus, you will add more words or ideas to the text if needed.
4. Answer the “What’s the Point?” Question
The first thing to take into account when you edit your piece is to know what your project should be accomplished for. Are you required to inform, persuade, or entertain your target readers? The point is that different writing formats come with a range of different expectations and requirements. For instance, if you work on a cause-and-effect essay, your task is to examine some event or situation. When it comes to reports, it is important that the author gets to the point of a particular discussion. In other words, when you know why you are creating this project, you can edit it better to meet that very purpose.
5. Edit Your Paper Step by Step
When you’re in the middle of an editing session, you will have to look for many different things – from typos and spelling mistakes to gaps in the flow of ideas and lack of evidence. It’s pointless to watch for all sorts of errors at the same time. Instead, ensure to take three simple steps one by one that will help you make your text clear and free from mistakes.
- At first, edit your academic assignment for content and consistency. Read your work to highlight gaps in info or thoughts/ideas that don’t work with the topic. As a rule, we tend to write in our minds, applying only the skills and knowledge that we have. In order to do this, you have to read your piece out loud to your friend or family member who is not familiar with it. They will listen to it and tell you if everything is clear or if any section requires more clarity.
- The next step includes editing the paper structure and formatting it according to the existing rules. Check if the paragraphs are wordy or too intimidating. Make sure your paper parts do not include any obfuscate thoughts or run-on sentences. Are all headings clear and supported by solid evidence? This is your chance to ensure that your text is easy to read and comprehend.
- The third editing session is about identifying grammatical errors and typos. It’s no doubt that you have already detected some of them in the process of reading before. In this case, we do not recommend relying on online checkers only. The thing is that mechanical helpers can’t highlight misused words that are one of the most common mistakes that students make.
And finally, the final step that you have to take is to read your work one more time trying to catch any issues mentioned above and ensure you do your best.
6. Read Your Paper Backwards
This sounds fun. Make sure to start reading your work with the final sentence and move backward from that point. Believe it or not but this simple technique will help you detect the mistakes that you didn’t notice when reading your text from the beginning. The point is that when you write your essay, your brain is already aware of what direction you would like to take your ideas. However, when you do it backward, the paper that you created yourself turns into something unknown, and you can focus on technical issues. As weird as it is, the method really works!
7. A Few More Tips and Tricks to Boost Editing Skills
In addition to everything said above, keep in mind the following recommendations as well to become a better editor:
- Create a list of the words that you tend to misspell here and there
- Use only comma splicing to separate two independent phrases
- Ensure your sentence length always varies
- Stay away from complicated words
- State your main ideas at the beginning of every paragraph
- Ensure one paragraph contains one idea
Finally, remember that everybody makes mistakes. Even the most talented writers have to edit their masterpieces. So make sure to forgive yourself for having non-perfect prose for now.
Never submit your college papers without proper editing. Remember the above simple tips and tricks to make sure you polish up your work appropriately.