Nothing ruins a good story more than having too many grammatical errors.
I’ve seen far too many variations on online works more than I thought I would: the mixing up of “their” and “they’re”, misuse of “lose” and “loose” and when you should use “its” and “it’s”. Not only do they make articles hard to read, they also give off the impression that the writer is lazy and unprofessional; someone who the audience won’t hang around for and someone clients will definitely not hire.
Because these kinds of mistakes don’t have to be there at all if only the writer took time to edit his work. So, if you are a writer, do yourself a favor: hold onto your first draft for a while and practice self-editing. Still need convincing? Here are four good reasons why:
Self-editing saves time.
The more mistakes and holes your article has, the longer it will take to satisfy your editor and for your post to go live. By proofreading your work, you’re already saving your editor from having to waste effort spotting and correcting the minor grammar and punctuation errors, cutting your revision time in half to none! Also, you give the editor a better impression of your writing skills.
You get an impression on how your work can be received.
Self-editing works best when you read it from the top, putting yourself in the shoes of a typical reader. Through self-editing, you get a better idea on how readable and appealing your work really is as you read on: Is the lead compelling? Is my reader learning from me? Will I make them want to read further or move on to the next site? When you reread your work, chances are you can already see for yourself what could have gone better. Again, this saves you time while giving you more confidence that you’ve written something good.
Your eyes gain readability sensitivity.
This will be incredibly helpful for future projects, especially if you’ll one day be given a chance to be an editor. A trained eye can easily spot structural mistakes and see ways to correct weak or flawed parts of an article more quickly. Consider boosting this skill even further by reading more top notch articles from prominent bloggers and sites whose writing style you like.
You become more aware of your writing technique.
Self-editing makes you aware of the areas in your writing that need more work. Perhaps you use more passives than active voice while writing. Maybe you tend to be too wordy in your descriptions. Perhaps you’re still scattering commas and apostrophes in all the wrong places. Knowing yourself better paves the way for improvement to never commit the same mistakes again.
Self-editing is a must for even the best writers out there; but, understandably, it’s a lot more difficult than it sounds. It might take time and some getting used to, but all writers have their own way of proofreading they find most effective.
Do you have any suggestions on how to make the work easier? I’d love to hear them!
Need further help? You can read my guide on how to self-edit here.