Proofreading: 7 Editing Tips That’ll Make You a Better Writer

Either you create content for social media, work on a research paper or a novel, editing remains the core of any high-quality text. Even when you buy cheap essay papers, they underwent the work of an editor. The ability to edit your text is as important as the ability to write it. It’s vital to enhance your proofreading skills when you can’t afford an editor. Moreover, you will simultaneously grow as a better writer avoiding all the mistakes as you write.

Work on a draft first

Even if you are sure in your writing skills, the first draft of the text should not be final. Do you know how it happens when you can’t find the right words in an argument or lively discussion? And then you can’t fall asleep at night thinking of a better answer. The same goes for the perfect formulation of your ideas. Working with a draft gives you the chance to say exactly what you had in mind and review your thoughts.

Avoid common stylistic mistakes

  • Legalese — Legalese is a characteristic of the official business style, but can get into an ordinary speech. Expressions like “herewith” or “conduct a check” appear when people want to seem smarter. Because of pseudo-intellectual formulations, the construction becomes more complicated in vain, and the meaning becomes neglected.
  • Cliche — This is a template and even stereotypical expression used so often that everyone is tired of it. “In the best traditions”, “rich experience”, “unique”, and “exclusive” — such words make the text weak and boring. If you are not sure if you have a cliche in front of you, it is better just to replace the phrase. Also, cliches become memes very quickly.
  • Passive voice — “This article was written by Jenny” and, “Jenny wrote the article” — do you feel the difference? The text in passive form becomes longer, and it is more difficult for the reader to understand who or what the subject of the speech is. Sentences in active voice sound more convincing and clear.
  • Expatiative sentences — When you are not quite sure what you want to say, it is easy to avoid direct wording by writing three different sentences. But it is better to say it straight once than to walk around. Don’t dodge the subject and just shorten the paragraph to one long and finished phrase.

Don’t edit a draft right after the writing

When you work on a text for a long time, you lose the sharpness of perception and stop noticing mistakes. So if you wonder how to become a great writer, give yourself some time at first. Simply rest and switch, and then start editing again. The longer you don’t touch the draft, the better. As a last resort, wait at least 10 minutes — this will also work.

Read it out loud

When you read a text aloud, you hear all its weaknesses: repetitions, typos, or broken tempo. If you stumble at a certain point, rewrite it. Otherwise, the reader will be in your shoes. Some authors even print out their drafts and edit them with a red pen to bring the text to perfection.

Don’t be afraid to cut and shorten the text

It is frequently harder to shorten your text than to rewrite it. However, a simple rule works here: cut out everything that can be removed without losing meaning. This way, you will make your text clear and concise, although you will spend a little more time. As Blaise Pascal wrote, “This letter turned out to be longer than usual because I did not have time to make it shorter.”

Pay attention to the first part of the text

The beginning of the text is the most crucial part. If you do not interest the reader immediately, you will not get another chance. It is not important whether you are writing a novel or a business letter; you should spend a little more time on the first sentences or paragraphs. Many mistakes that no one will notice in the middle can fail you at the beginning.

Create a precise structure

The success of a text often depends on its structure. It doesn’t matter how accurately separate sentences are formulated if they are chaotic. Break down the text into paragraphs and, if necessary, insert subheadings as we have done in this article. If the structure of your work changes drastically between drafts, it is normal. You are editing the whole text, not just fixing minor bugs.

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