Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Editing Techniques for Freelance Academic Writers

As you have seen from my previous post, I started to write a series of articles on after-writing text processing. I strongly believe that writing is only 50% of producing a great piece, the rest is on editing, content editing, copyediting and proofreading. You have to be really attentive with writing because it is much easier to notice someone else’s mistake than yours. So, I’ll try to grasp the details of every stage of this process and I’ll start from editing.

As I’ve mentioned before, editing is the 1st step you have to take after writing your rough draft. During this stage you check the text for structure mismatches that can spoil the big picture. For instance, you have three paragraphs in your essay but the 1st one is 300 words and the 2nd one is two small sentences. Or you see that the sentences are very big and the reader will lose the thread after reading it all. And there can be even minor gaps like full points that should or shouldn’t be at the end of your subheading or something like that.  Of course, it looks inappropriate and that’s what editing is for. But I won’t tell you long lists of 25+ editing techniques that you can find all over the Internet, I’ll just mention three that work best for me:

1)      edit 5 hours after the text has been written;
(after you have just finished the piece, it will seem perfect to you because you’ve worked so hard on it and have had several genius ideas. I don’t want to upset you but it’s surely not perfect and you will see it after some time passes.)

2)      read out loud or use some text-to-speech software;
(while listening to your own words, you’ll perceive them from a different perspective and you may notice not only perfunctory issues but touch upon other text processing stages like content-editing or copyediting.)

3)      change the font of the text.
(if you switch from Times New Roman to Comic Sans, your brain will think that it’s not the same text anymore, that it’s someone else’s. That’s why the possibility that you’ll notice more issues is much higher.)

These are my favorite means of editing and they always work very well. They seem very simple but that shouldn’t worry you: as the 1st stage in text processing, editing with these strategies will be effective enough for the after-writing text processing. So, my dear colleagues, use these techniques and polish your texts with pleasure!