Sunday, May 29, 2011

Do Not Edit Your Own Work

Mark TwainCover of Mark TwainEditing what you've written is a mistake. Did you get what you really meant down on the page?

As Mark Twain said, "The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is that you really want to say."

What did he mean with this quote?

This quote is part of my signature on my e-mails. It means I walk away from my writing sit for some period of hours or days days before I submit it. I also have my wife whom I trust read it so I can see if my message is easy for the reader to get my meaning across the way I wished.

Do you have a trusted person to read your work, and offer constructive criticism? If not, find a trusted person and have them tell you if they see as something that may need to be changed or made clearer.

Many writers take constructive criticism personally, I like to think of it as a way of learning more about the craft of writing. Any time I receive feedback about my writing, I learn to make my meaning clearer so that the reader doesn't have to spend time trying to figure out what my point is. As you receive feedback, and go back to correct the points made by the second reader, you can become a better editor yourself.

As with most things, the more often it's done, the better a person becomes at it. It just takes hard work, some self discipline, and a healthy dose of desire to improve skills. From a personal prospective, I know it works.

Any time you can take a course about editing, writing, or entrepreneurship that you can attend, do yourself a favor and take the course.

Just put your rear in your chair, and stay there.

Robert Medak
Freelance writer/Editor/Reviewer
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