Our topic this week is editing. Often confusion exists regarding what editing is (see previous blogs) and how one improves. One of my favorite tips that my students, mentees, and clients find very helpful is the idea of editing partners. It is human nature that it easier to give feedback to others than to recognize the same faults, mistakes, or opportunities for improvement in our own writing.
Curious isn’t it? How then do we improve our writing through editing? [I’m glad you asked!)
Mastery of any skill requires practice. In the case of writing, to improve our writing, we need to practice editing on the writing of others. I know this sounds counter intuitive, but it’s true.
Consequently, let me invite you to find at least one editing partner. The goal is to trade your writing. They edit your writing; you edit theirs. If you have a larger group, trade several times (use colors for each editor to make it easier to ask questions). The more you edit the writing of others and see THEIR errors, the more you will eventually see in your own (with consistent practice of course!).
Students and clients become VERY excited the day they can see challenges such as passive voice, vague pronouns, and anthropomorphism in their own writing. Hooray! With practice, we are training your eyes. Perhaps this technique is simply inline with the universe and the gift of reciprocity: we must first give, before we receive.
I hope these techniques are of help to your writing mastery. Please share your stories as a reply to this blog. We would love to hear your stories. Forward we go!
My best to your success!
Dr. Cheryl Lentz
The Academic Entrepreneur
Academic Editing & Coaching Services