This post will be a short one, as my house is very noisy today. I am babysitting my three nephews (one of the perks of working from home) and playing referee doesn’t allow for great concentration.
Do you self-edit?
I do, and I have found setting aside the manuscript for even a day or two helps with spotting errors. I am very impatient when I write something new, and have to force myself to take at least a small break from it before I hit the “publish” button.
When editing your own work, it is easy to miss the typos and spelling mistakes. Don’t rely on your word processing program to catch everything, as it will not point out words used in the wrong context. I recently proofread a manuscript and the word out was used instead of our. The author’s computer would not have picked up on that, as the word itself was not spelled wrong; it was simply not the right word for the sentence.
It is also good to use a critical eye, and as many other authors and editors have suggested, read the work out loud. By reading out loud, it will be easier to spot inconsistencies or errors. I’m sure my dog thinks I’m losing it some days. When reading your work to yourself it is easy to just skim over it, thus resulting in missed mistakes. Editors also need to pay close attention, because sometimes our eyes automatically insert the words and we read what we presume is there. Our own work or someone else’s – reading aloud should make a big difference in productivity and accuracy.
Just for curiosity sake, do you already read your work aloud while editing?