5 Writing and Self-Editing Tips

Editing can be a tricky beast, but here are a few tips to help you when you’re writing and self-editing:

  1. Write without editing.  It’s always easier to cut than to add in, and you’ll find writing to be more enjoyable when you aren’t nit-picking every last word.
  2. Let your work sit for as long as possible.  It’s hard to “objectively” edit something when it’s still fresh in your mind.
  3. Print it out.  There is something about editing on paper that makes the process more enjoyable…and your eyes will thank you for it.
  4. Don’t be afraid to “kill your darlings,” as Stephen King puts it.  Don’t fall so in love with your work that you aren’t willing to make it better.
  5. Read it aloud.  When you’re finally ready to proofread, read your work aloud and touch each word with your pen as you say it.  This helps you maintain focus and not skip words with your eyes.  I’ve also recently been experimenting with the MS Word “speak” feature.  After I do all of these steps, I then have the computer read it to me, and I listen for errors.


That’s it for tonight.  Happy editing!


Stacy Ennis is a best-selling author, creative consultant, and speaker, as well as the founder of Nonfiction Book School. She served as long-time ghostwriter for a Nobel Prize winner in medicine and executive editor of Sam’s Club’s Healthy Living Made Simple, a publication that reaches around 11 million readers. Stacy’s latest coauthored book is Growing Influence (Greenleaf Book Group, 2018). Stacy writes about writing (meta!), solopreneurship, location independence, travel, and living the life you want.


  • Sarah H. Reply

    I tried that tip you shared about not editing as I go with a big paper for my portfolio, and it really helped! I didn’t feel like I had to stop and lose my original train of thought just to edit. Thanks, Sissy! I’ve got another big paper to go, and I’m sure I’ll be thanking you even more!

  • Stacy Lynn Reply

    I’m glad it helped! 🙂 Thanks for your nice comment, sissy!

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