Simplify Your Book Editing

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Exhausted, drained and ready to move on.

Do these sentiments describe how you feel after you write a new book? I can relate.

You’ve spent countless hours researching and writing your latest offering and can’t wait to get it into the hands of your readers. But your excitement fades when you realize the awful truth – you still have to edit your manuscript!

Even after you’ve come up with a topic, brainstormed interesting angles and arguments and done all the writing, your book still isn’t finished until you complete this all-important step.

But here’s where the problem lies…

For a lot of writers, the editing process can be an absolute nightmare. In fact, many would say that editing is much more grueling than actually writing the book.

Truth is, it doesn’t have to be.

I’m not going to tell you that editing a full-length book is going to be fast and easy – because it’s not. However, it can be a much more streamlined and straightforward process if you utilize the following tips to make editing your book a lot simpler.

Step away from your work.

Have you ever gotten so close to your writing that you’ve practically memorized every word on each page? It happens to the best of us.

The problem with this is that it makes the editing process that much more difficult.

The solution?

Put some well-needed distance between you and your work before you start editing.

It may seem counterproductive to stop working on your manuscript in order to become more productive, but that’s exactly what this simplification strategy calls for.

Editing after you let your writing “rest” allows you to view your work through new eyes. You instantly pick up simple mistakes and find opportunities to make your writing better that you would have glossed over or ignored completely if you didn’t.

If you can afford to ignore your content for a day or two, you’ll reap the benefit of using this tip. However, even if you don’t have that kind of time to spare, just a few hours away from your work will do wonders for enhancing your editing efficiency when you actually get started.

Use editing software.

One of the simplest ways to give your book review a boost is to use software specific for content editing. While nothing compares to the editing power of the human brain, some of the apps and software available for this task come pretty darn close.

At the very least, editing apps like Grammarly help make the process a bit more simple. The software scans your writing and looks for common issues within your grammar and spelling. It then brings the errors to your attention so that you can make the edits.

Along with checking for spelling errors, Grammarly picks up the following grammatical mistakes:

  • Fragmented sentences
  • Double pronouns
  • Double negatives
  • Passive voice
  • Confused prepositions

In fact, Grammarly uses an advanced set of rules to spot 250 different kinds of language issues in your writing.

Talk about a time saver!

Editing software works at a much higher level than anything your regular word processing program could do, so it’s well worth the time spent using it.

However, there’s one important caveat. Whenever you use any spell checking software, always be on the lookout for pesky homophones. Homophones are words that sound exactly alike but are spelled differently and mean completely different things (ex. coarse and course, or their and there). Spell checker software often doesn’t do a thorough job of picking up on every single one.

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Plan your content carefully.

While it may require more time upfront, if you take the pains to create a detailed outline for your book it makes editing much simpler when the time comes.

Whenever you sit down to write a lengthy piece of content it is always best to create a “map” of sorts before you begin the actual writing process.

Doing this offers several valuable benefits. However the most important one, as far as editing is concerned, is that you stay on track.

Staying on topic based on your original content plan lowers the chance of you having to edit heavily because of a lot of irrelevant or erroneous content sneaking into your first draft.

It’s incredibly easy to go off on a tangent and end up having to cut a large portion of your book editor because certain things shouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Reduce or eliminate this problem by making your outline as detailed as possible and referring to it often as you write your book. You’re guaranteed to have significantly less editing to do than you would otherwise.

Focus on one aspect of editing at a time.

Are you one of those people who are proud of their multitasking abilities? Can you usually do several things at once and stay highly effective?

The truth is that 9 times out of 10 multitasking makes you much less effective than you would be if you focused all your efforts on performing one task at a time.

This is especially true when editing a book.

Instead of trying to fix spelling mistakes, tweak formatting and rearrange sentences for better flow in one fell swoop, focus instead on editing one aspect of your book at a time and stick with it until that phase of editing is complete.

If you try to tackle everything at once you run the risk of feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. If that happens, your editing and final results suffer.

A simple way to approach editing in phases, is to start with a broad edit and work your way down to editing specific aspects of your book. Doing this lets you laser focus on what needs to be done to improve the book without wasting any time and also improves your editing efficiency.

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