Peggy Bechko on “Self Editing, the Writer’s Friend”

by Peggy Bechko

keep-calm-and-editAll kinds of writers (fiction, business,  non-fiction, etc.) have all kinds of reasons they need to self-edit.

For starters – well it’s the place to start. Even if you have it in your budget to hire a professional editor or you have friends in the office standing by to do a read through, the fact of the matter is you need to do a self-edit first…and maybe last.

Great news is there are all kinds of helps you can use.  But, of course there are advantages and downsides to using those tools.

The advantages?

Many tools are free or low cost, yep, you can use many of them for nothing. These tools aren’t human so if you have a difference with them it is quite impossible to insult them or cause hard feelings. If you pay attention to what you find when using these tools you’ll learn stuff. Really, you will. And a tool won’t judge you for misspelling the same word over and over, it will simply point that out for you to correct.

The disadvantages?

One is the same as the advantage – the tools aren’t human.  They won’t think for you. A tool may give you a heads up regarding potential problems, but it’s you as the writer who needs to decide what to address and how or if you should ignore it altogether.  A tool isn’t going to fix it for you. Sometimes a tool unearths something that isn’t clear and you’ll have to dig around  in craft of writing books or style guides to figure it out.

So why don’t you give some helpful tools a try?

Check out the Hemingway App   It will highlight adverbs in blue. After that you can dump them or leave ones you think are important leading the way to showing your reader instead of telling a story.

When you approach self-editing remember first it’s good to begin with the overview then work your way down to sentences and fixes for words. Use only one tool at a time or you’re really going to confuse yourself. And it isn’t necessary to use every tool in your toolbox every time you write. Think about which ones will do the job the best.

Here’s a link to eight proofreading tools you might find useful.

Meanwhile don’t forget my new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle.  Grab your copy now! 


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor.  Learn more about her HERE. And don’t forget to visit her sensational blog, where this post was first published.