5 tips to edit with confidence

Editing your own work is difficult and sometimes frustrating—yet making it readable for your audience is imperative. Most readers skim through articles, presentations, emails, and class material to gain a couple of takeaways, and then leave. You have 37 seconds to grab a reader’s attention. Errors lower that to 10 seconds.

Read on for some quick tips and tricks to edit your work, so your readers will love to read what you say.


  •  Editing is the process that fixes mistakes, clarifies your message, cuts down on text, and hones the language. Proofreading is part of the editing process that checks for consistency, spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • All writers need editing. Yes, this means you.
  • When we write, we’re very close to our work. It’s easy to miss common mistakes.
  • The difference between mediocre writing and great writing comes down to careful editing.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s easy to edit your work. It’s downright tricky. But do not skip the editing process!

5 Tips

to help you edit with confidence

1. Write first. Edit later.

    • Multitasking leads to a 40 percent drop in productivity. Writing and editing are two different tasks—do one, then the other!
    • Correct a typo or restart a sentence, but if you find yourself rewriting whole sections, STOP! You’re supposed to be writing right now!
    • The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. It NEVER is!
    • Writing without editing gets easier with practice.


2. Let your words rest.

    • Build extra time into your schedule (if possible). The time away gives your brain the space to come up with new wording, hear your tone, find inconsistencies and errors, and discover comma issues.
      • For shorter writing: A few hours is plenty of time.
      • For a presentation or class material: Let it rest for a week before editing.


3. Words don’t bleed. Cut them!

    • Cut at least 10 percent of what you write.
    • Look for words and phrases to cut first:

      • Repeating the same point over and over.
      • Tired words and phrases such as:
          • In my opinion
          • I believe or I think
          • Like
          • Kind of or sort of
          • Good or great
          • Beautiful

4. There’s an app for that.

    • Run your writing through software that checks the style, spelling, and grammar, such as:
    • However, don’t rely solely on spell checkers to catch everything. Some errors slip through the cracks. Always re-read your writing.


5. Read your writing out loud.

    • We are so familiar with the words we use that our brains glide over common errors. Read your writing out loud. This slows your eyes enough to see these issues.

Great writing doesn’t magically appear—it’s the result of thoughtful, organized editing. Careful editing transforms unclear writing into a compelling work that engages readers. Whatever you write next, ensure your writing is polished, clear, and as effective as possible.  

Click here for an editing checklist to boost your confidence.

I recommend using it for all your writing projects!

If you’re struggling with creating visually appealing and consistent classroom materials, we can help. Contact us to see what Digital Publishing can do for you.

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