Self-Editing Strategies and Tools for Writers

Self-editing is the practice of editing your own manuscript to the best of your ability, prior to submitting it to a freelance editor, agent, or publisher. Every author approaches self-editing differently depending on skill level, but any self-editing that can be done will help save time and money in the overall publishing process. Per author and freelance editor Jason Schmetzer, most authors are capable of doing basic copyediting and proofreading, which includes grammar, typos, and punctuation. Schmetzer recommends waiting until a first draft is complete before tackling any deeper edits like developmental and line editing, which look at story structure and styling. In his own writing, Schmetzer does tend to copyedit as he goes, but does not go beyond that until he has a finished draft. Saving major rewrites until the end will allow you to catch more errors and inconsistencies. While word processing software like Microsoft Word can identify common spelling errors, Schmetzer recommends upgrading to a software such as Grammarly for more accuracy.

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