The Lean Editing Guide: 11 Points That You Can Use to Edit Your Own Writing

Good writing is rewriting.

Almost all of us start with a shitty first draft.

By editing we take from good enough to good to great.

Thankfully good editing is not rocket science.

You can use a few basic principles to edit your own writing like a pro.

Editing Guide

I am listing those in this short guide for you to use.

  1. Don’t edit while writing. Write drunk, edit sober.
  1. Get rid of qualifiers in sentences, like I think, I feel or I believe. (Example – Unedited: I believed everyone should eat homemade food for good health. Edited: Eat homemade food for good health.)
  1. Short sentences help break the monotony of writing. But too many of them in a row, makes the writing choppy. When you have several short sentences in a row combine a few of them.
  1. Avoid long sentences because they are difficult to understand and boring.
  1. Review the order of your writing and make sure that the most important piece of your writing appears in the beginning.
  1. Use a hook in the beginning, something the readers can’t stop nodding to.
  1. Stay consistent with verb tense. Don’t start writing in present tense and move to past tense in the middle for a few sentences.
  2. Work on structure. Reorder sections, paragraphs so that your writing presents a clear narrative. When working on structure it highlights the parts when you want to add new content so that it is easy to execute once you go back to it.
  3. Use one idea per sentence, per paragraph, per chapter.
  4. Entire paragraph supports the first sentence of that paragraph.
  5. Edit out jargons or difficult to understand words, words that most people will have to pick a dictionary to understand.

Editing Your Own Work: 1-2-3

  1. In the beginning, run your draft first through grammarly and make changes based on suggestions. Next, put it into the Hemingway app.
  2. Once this is done, update the draft in the light of 11 points I have shared above.
  3. Then read it aloud to make sure that the edited version sounds alright.


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