Thursday, May 24, 2012

Don't Hurry Your Editing

Writers spend a lot of time on a story or article. They think it's done and may send it off to a critique group or a writing buddy to have some other eyes on it. And you know what happens. The objective eyes see so much more than she who has written this masterpiece (or what they hoped was a masterpiece!)

Time to do some editing. I think that a good many writers hurry through an editing job. They make a few revisions lickety-split because they want to get that baby sent to an editor who will publish it. Well, guess what? That's not gonna happen if you don't put some quality time and effort into your own personal editing. 

I've been guilty more than once of hurrying through that process because I wanted to get my story out. Sure, I made some revisions, but maybe they weren't the best ones. If I go through the piece and make my changes, then let it sit at least overnight, even two to three days, I'm going to know if my revisions made this a better piece of writing. When I go back and read through the story later rather than sooner, I an probably going to end up with a better story.

Case in point--I've been working on a personal essay to send to my Kansas Authors state contest. It's one that is filled with emotion and I tried to be careful to not overdo that. I sent it to my critique group and had some great responses and some suggestions on wording, additions, parts that may be unnecessary. Last night, I spent a fair amount of time going through the crits and making changes in my essay. I read through it and felt pretty good about the way it sounded. Even so, I closed the file and left it. Later today, I'll read through it, then I'll read it aloud. No doubt in my mind--I'll probably make a few more changes in it. I'll let it sit overnight again and by tomorrow I should be ready to say it's in final form, ready to send to the contest. It may not win but I'll know that I gave it my best shot.

Don't hurry your editing. You'll increase your chances of winning a contest or getting a story published by a great deal if you take your time. I can hear some of you saying But what about deadlines? What if I don't have time?  We all know the answer to that one. Start early enough to allow the time needed. A hurry-up job often looks like a hurry-up job!


  1. Very good advice!

    I think it's even true for blog posts. The occasional misspelling or use of 'there' for 'there' can happen, even when you run your blog post through a grammar & spellchecker.

    I'm on the verge of unsubscribing from a couple of book blogs whose writers never seem to use these free and easy tools, leaving their posts punctuated with sloppy errors which distract readers. There are too many great blogs out there for readers to put up with poor-quality writing!

    **Katy M
    Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at
    Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

  2. So true! This is especially important in freelance writing. If you submit work that has misspellings or improper grammar, you're not likely to continue getting assignments from that client or publisher.