Finding the right words can be hard. Editing can be even harder.
But it is the challenge that makes a completed piece of work even more fulfilling. And you do not have to postpone the editing part until after your first draft. In fact, with tools like WordCounter, you really can edit on the go!
At the end of the day, it does not matter how many drafts or re-writes you end up doing. The key to a successful piece of writing really comes down to editing. It comes down to consistent word counts, consistent punctuation, and the little details that really make a whole world of difference.
Most pieces of writing will get edited at least two to three times at a minimum. Sometimes it can actually go up into the dozens!
So how can you perfect the editing process and also edit as you go? Here is everything you need to know so that you can start to enjoy the editing process and not end up dreading it.
The First Draft is Just the First Draft
Sometimes, you just need to collect your thoughts. So rather than trying to make your piece of writing perfect on the first go-around, simply allow yourself to get in the writing flow and sort your thoughts out into ideas and words.
Writing really is just a form of thinking. It is super rare we actually know what we’re ever going to say until we actually say it. So that is why writing should be something you allow yourself to just get in the flow. It is okay in the first draft if you are all over the place. It is okay if you make typos. It is okay if nothing is consistent.
Let the first draft be just that – the first draft.
You have a whole range of editing tools you can use as you go back and write the second, third, and fourth drafts. It does not have to be perfect. You just need to get started. Otherwise, you will likely experience a full-on case of writer’s block.
Be On the Lookout for Common Errors
Even the most experienced and talented writers make the most simple mistakes. The difference between great writers and the rest is that they can catch those mistakes as soon as they are made.
In general, you should play around with expanding your vocabulary as you write. Try a few different words in a sentence before you complete it. Having the freedom to experiment with your word choice and word count will not only help you avoid that stereotypical jargon, but it will also help you grow as a writer yourself.
When you are writing, be on the lookout for cliches, mixing up your voice and tone and also having run-on sentences.
A great trick for actually avoiding run-on sentences is by typing with a word counter tool. That way you can be held accountable and reference consistency as you type. You will likely realize that the six sentences you thought you needed can actually say the same thing in just one sentence!
Take a Break
Another great way to edit on the go is to take a break. If you become too attached and close to it, you will struggle to see the glaring errors. You also need to detach before you can properly edit your writing. So once you get your words onto paper – or a computer – walk away and go make yourself a cup of tea. Sit away from your words and let your brain chill.
When you come back to your writing, you will see it in a whole new light and have a much easier time catching the errors you probably would have overlooked had you tried to dive into it right away.
Also, do not just read your work. Say it out loud. This will help you figure out any grammatical errors and if your tones are consistent. If you find yourself stumbling to read, then your readers are going to stumble too.
Don’t Be Scared to Cut
Another great way to edit on the go is to not be afraid to type something and then delete it! One of the biggest challenges many writers face is the fact that they overwrite. Underwriting is actually a much rarer problem.
That is why you should establish a word count goal before you begin and hold yourself accountable for it. That way you will be forced into making decisions around the words that are necessary and the words that actually do nothing for you.
In general, follow the rule that if in doubt, cut it out. If the word is not adding to a sentence, get rid of it. If the sentence does not work with the paragraph, delete it. If the paragraph does not support your main point, get it out of there.
With word counting tools you will be able to easily edit on the go!!