What does nobody tell you about editing and proofreading?

Your writing belongs to anyone who wants to read it.

When you start writing a story or a chapter or an article, it is only you who is writing it and reading it while at it. Before you publish the final draft, take out all the parts of it that aren’t a part of the story.

Let’s work through an excerpt of something that I am writing. The part that you read below is the first draft i.e when I was the only one reading and writing it.

But my experience with life tells me that it is not always so simple. The real take away is never the why of a particular thing. I could forever keep obsessing about why after 9 months of being together that we have come to this stage. The why doesn’t help. Rather I should trace it back to how it came to this point. The point from which all began to unravel. I may not be able to apply the learning here, but I will be able to take them on with me. It will hurt like crazy I know. And that should make me even more scared of falling in love and of putting myself out there but I know that’s not how things work. If I do that, I will forever be living in a shell, afraid to get out, afraid to be hurt and living a half life.

Now let’s look at it from the point of a view of a reader and take out all the parts that don’t add value to that excerpt.

But my experience with life tells me that it is not always so simple. The real take away is never the why of a particular thing. I could forever keep obsessing about why after 9 months of being together that we have come to this stage. The why doesn’t help. Rather I should trace it back to how it came to this point. The point from which all began to unravel. I may not be able to apply the learning here, but I will be able to take them on with me. It will hurt like crazy I know. And that should make me even more scared of falling in love and of putting myself out there but I know that’s not how things work. If I do that, I will forever be living in a shell, afraid to get out, afraid to be hurt and living a half life.

From 150 words, we have come down to 104 words. The meaning of the paragraph has not been altered. It still speaks to the reader, albeit in a more cohesive manner.

I am usually able to edit myself better when I let the material stew for one night. I don’t believe in immediately editing and proofreading. The next day when you look at the material, you read it as a reader would and it becomes easier to spot mistakes, misses and extra stuffing.

All the best for your editing and proof-reading journey!

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