Having a copyeditor used to be a normal part of writing and publishing that saved writers from embarrassing gaffes. Now that content is increasingly published directly to a website, being an editor is just another hat that writers have to wear. Offering website content services now means offering your self-editing services as well. If you can’t edit your own work, prepare to be run over by the stampede of writers who can.
Listen to Yourself
One of the easiest ways to edit your own work is to read it out loud and listen to the way it sounds. This is extremely helpful in helping you to find skipped words that you might not see if you simply read the work silently. Why? Because your eyes and brain don’t move smoothly through each word when you read them. If you’re reading silently, your eyes may miss small words that are misspelled or not notice that the small words are skipped altogether. When you read your copy out loud, you hear it clearly when a word is skipped or has been autocorrected to something weird.
Take Your Time
Another useful method is to let the copy sit for a while to mature. Like a fine wine or stinky cheese, it can be made better with the passage of time. You may have written something that sounds brilliant to you in the moment. It may have been complex, fascinating, funny or a combination of all of them. What seemed intricate and smart in the moment may read as simply confusing once you’ve gotten a little distance from it. As your own editor, you need to be able to read it from an objective point of view. When you let it sit for a few hours and then come back to it, you can read it more as a reader would and less as someone admiring your own phrases.
Look at the Big Picture
Being your own editor doesn’t mean just catching those little grammar and spelling mistakes. It also means looking at the bigger picture and seeing whether the work covers the topic well, flows nicely and doesn’t sound insane. The tone of the work and the references you use in the work, if any, are important parts of the work itself. The website content services offered by online content writers needs to cover the topic well and to do it without the need for an editor to point out continuity problems, weird tones and questions about the topic that the work should have answered.
Lizz S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.