In an ideal world, every writer would have a top-notch editor who understands the needs of her project and the idiosyncrasies of her writing process. There’s no substitute for a trained editorial eye when it comes to realizing the full potential of a piece of writing—even (or maybe especially) those of us who are editors by trade value another editor’s insight on our own writing.
But we live in the real world. And the reality of tight budgets and tight timelines means that you can’t always get what you want. What you can always get, however, is yourself. It’s absolutely possible to be your own (cheap!) editor, if you know how to shift gears. Self-editing is not always easy—there’s a reason it’s called “killing your babies”—but it’s among the most useful skill sets for anyone who writes.
Try these tricks for wrangling your writing into top form.
English PhD, former arts administrator, obsessive cook, native East Coaster, and mom to two rabblerousers.
English PhD, former high school teacher, obsessive organizer, native Midwesterner, and mom to three troublemakers.