Self-editing

Subject: Self-editing
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997 09:04:09 -0500

Lisa Miller wrote to report her problems with self-editing
and ask for suggestions. Lisa, first off, don't get into
the self-doubt trap. If everyone could self-edit, there'd
be no need for editors. The problem is that each of us
lives inside our own head, comfortably walled off from the
real world by our accumulated experience and the
assumptions we make on that basis. Very few people can make
the jump to understanding how our own model of the world
differs from those of everyone else... and the omissions
etc. you're talking about are largely a result of this
problem: _you_ already know what you mean, and
subconsciously fill in the gaps... which makes you a
skilled reader, but a poor self-editor.

The only really good solution is to hire an editor, either
full-time or freelance. The ad hoc solution is to set aside
your writing for at least a week and come back to it with a
fresh eye... the mistakes will jump right out at you. In
between the two, find a colleague who can review your text
for you, and offer the colleague the same service in
return.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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