Editing your own writing can be a challenge, but it helps to have a process to put your article through.

  1. Get a fresh perspective. Print out your article and have your red pen ready to make some changes. Look for awkward phrasing and unnecessary words. If your deadline isn’t looming, it can help to take a break and put some literal and emotional distance between you and the copy. If possible, sleep on it.
  1. Read it out loud. The writing should sound smooth and flow easily. By reading your work out loud you will catch phrasing that doesn’t sound natural. Check to see if you need more transitions or if your thoughts naturally progress.
  1. Make needed cuts. Your editor will be pleased if you meet instead of exceed the instructed word count. It is painful to trim it down, but it has to be done. Make paragraphs short, get down to the essentials, and make each word have an impact. Don’t use three words when one will suffice.
  1. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Can anything you said be misinterpreted? Is your meaning clear? Are you accusatory in your tone? Do you jump to conclusions without showing the reader your reasoning?
  1. Know yourself. Everyone has words or phrases that they fall back on without thinking. If your editor comes back to you with the same types of changes every time, make sure to take note of your writing weaknesses and spend some extra time looking for them.

To learn more, purchase our writing manual “Writing Effective Magazine Articles.”

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