Effective Editing – My 5 A’s for better editing
Here are my 5 A’s of how to edit more effectively:
Accept that editing is a normal and necessary part of the writing process. Quality writing takes time – not even great writers get it right straight away. I often tell people they should be prepared (and it is normal) for editing to take 20-30% of the total time for getting a text written and completed.
Antennae – To heighten you awareness, read your text aloud, read it without a pen (so that you focus on the ‘big picture issues’ and don’t get sidetracked into making punctuation and smaller corrections). Ask yourself key questions such is it right for your audience and meeting your objectives.
Attention – Texts often need tweaking in terms of their structure, relevance or style … but if you sort out whichever is failing the most you will make a really positive impact on your text. How does your text fare against these three?
Alarm Bells – Be alert for things like long sentences, passive sentences, jargon and cliches – and whatever are your writing’s weaknesses … all these can really damage a piece of writing, annoy your readers, and make them pass over your text.
And Again – Editing is not just about having one quick read-through … and ‘Job Done’. You have to edit .. and again … and again .. and …
OK, now get your red pen out!