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New Book Helps You Edit Yourself

Success in freelance writing means not only writing well but editing yourself well too. It’s not easy.

I’ve always felt there are two major problems with self-editing:

  1. First is the way writers can fall in love with their own words. It’s not surprising. After all you’ve spend considerable time and creative energy trying to express your thoughts exactly the right way. The trouble is that exactly the right way probably doesn’t exist. Being unwilling to even consider a change is a sure way to fail.
  2. The other reason is that we’re so darn close to the writing we simply can’t see the changes that need to be made.

Audrey Owen’s Book Helps

Audrey Owen is a professional editor. I’ve known her online for quite awhile now and her comments and advice have always been right on. She has a helpful website called Writer’sHelper where she also writes The Editor’s Blog.

She has written an ebook that shows you exactly what you need to know about editing your own work. Called Getting Your Writing Fit, it’s one of those handbooks I wish I’d had long before this.

Although I probably wouldn’t have chosen getting physically fit as a metaphor for improving my own writing, Audrey makes it work.


She opens with a clear purpose:

Get Your Writing Fighting Fit is designed to help you to get your words in shape. It will not make you a professional editor, although if you are one already, it may help you to work more efficiently. It will not tell you how to fix every writing problem you have. That’s where training comes in. This book will show you how to give your words the fighting edge they need.

She then proceeds to do just that. She sorts out the kinds of editing you need, shows you how to recast words and sentences for clarity then goes on to help you determine what is fat that can be cut and what is just what’s needed.

Audrey uses word lists and other examples to make clear what she’s suggesting you do to your own writing.

I recommend Getting Your Writing Fit highly. (And yes, she’s got an affiliate program that you can join too.)

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • One thing that has helped me is to spend a month or so creating nothing but haiku. If you play fair and stick to the 17 syllable budget, you quickly learn to make every syllable, every word count. I also have written some 600 word flash fiction, another exercise that teaches you that a lot of commonly used phrases really do nothing. (example: “He began to cast his line out into the stream.” Began to, started to, tried to, often really say nothing and aren’t even appropriate unless there is an interruption to follow.)
    .-= jorgekafkazar´s last blog ..Tenirax, Ch V =-.

  • Anyone who has trouble self-editing should work as an editor on a fast-paced publication one week. That cures most of us! I’ll never understand the desire to hang onto words or phrases that simply don’t work. In fact, I’ve been known to hack my own work to bits just to make it fit the space allotted. As writers, we can’t be wed to our words. We need to be wed to our audiences instead.

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