The Importance of Editing Your Written Work, and How to Do It
No one is immune from making a mistake. And when it comes to your writing, the same rule applies. In fact, the greatest writers are susceptible to the occasional error.
Shakespeare, J.K. Rowling, Henry Miller, the Bible!
But thinking that you are immune from making mistakes is the first mistake you make, and it is perhaps the biggest.
Of course, most people realize that they are capable of making mistakes, especially when it comes to their written work. And this is as true of native English speakers as it is for those who speak (and write!) it as a second language, or of course those who are in the process of learning English.
Absolutely everyone benefits from editing their work. Not doing it amounts to saying that you are incapable of making a mistake. Or saying that you don’t care. Neither are desirable options.
And then there is the impression that poorly edited written work gives. Whether you are writing an email for business purposes, posting something on social media, or even speaking in an instant message with a friend, poorly written English can result in a negative impression, or sometimes even worse, a total misunderstanding. This is just as true for sending a message to your boss as it is for sending a WhatsApp message to your best friend.
So, unedited writing can affect your reputation, career prospects, and even relationships. It can also cause headaches in other ways, of course, such as confusion on a form you have completed, or any number of other possibly disastrous misunderstandings.
In short, unedited writing can cause you problems in many ways. But the simple fact is, there is really no reason for it. The solution can be relatively simple. Here are just a few easy ways in which you can successfully edit your written work or communication:
Let your writing breathe
How many times have you seen, or even written and sent, an instant message that makes you look like you, or the sender, was half asleep when they did it? Maybe you, or they, were!
But most of the time it is the ‘instant’ nature of the message that causes the problem. Just give yourself a few moments to consider what you want to say. Replying in the heat of the moment never usually ends well.
So, breathe deeply, think about what you want to say, and then say it. This is as true when you are writing as when you are speaking. How many people have gotten themselves into trouble on Twitter, for example, for not thinking and breathing before they hit ‘post’. Don’t make that mistake!
This is perhaps the simplest piece of advice that anyone can give, but it is still amazing how many people fail to follow this simple instruction.
Reread what you have written before you send it, post it, upload it, etc..
Yes, this takes a little more time, of course, but it will be worth it.
It gives you a chance to edit any glaring mistakes in spelling, grammar, or whatever it may be, that can cause minor irritation at best, and severe embarrassment at worst. And with programs such as autocorrect at work, everyone can be caught out by not proofreading what they have written.
So just take a little time, and save yourself from the consequences of unproofed writing.
Use another pair of eyes
Where possible, and if the writing is really important, let someone else have a read before you send/post/upload etc. it. Another perspective can be so valuable.
When you are the author, you are so invested in the message that it is incredibly easy to overlook something that is glaringly obvious to another person. This is an approach that truly works, and again can save you from embarrassment.
Keep it simple
Here is some advice that nearly always rings true.
Don’t try to be too clever in your writing. Use simple words where possible. And keep it brief where you can.
If you consider these things when you are editing, you will usually save yourself a lot of trouble.
Use a writing assistant
You are not alone when it comes to editing your work. Fortunately, there are a lot of great tools available for helping with the quality of your writing, and can assist in the editing of your work.
This helps when time is an issue, and also when you lack confidence in the quality of writing you are producing.
But it also helps if you are an accomplished writer, because as we have seen, even the best writers make mistakes.
Linguix is an AI-powered writing assistant that goes to work wherever you write on the web. That means that your writing is edited instantly for mistakes, so you never need make a glaring grammatical or spelling error. Just simply download the free Chrome, Firefox or Edge extension, and you are on your way.
Furthermore, paste (or write) your text in the editing tool, and get an even greater analysis of your work, including editing suggestions, and even a Flesch readability score, as well as an educated analysis of the suitability of your text based on your own pre-defined criteria. In that way, not only will your work be free from errors, but you can also take confidence that what you have written is suitable for your intended audience. Traditional editing methods won’t necessarily delve that deep.
So, when it comes to editing your writing, that second pair or eyes can always be with you. Try Linguix to see how your writing can reach another level.