Self-Editing: Catching Your Mistakes before Others Do

Uncle Mike September 5, 2017

Improve your writing by mastering these self-editing techniques.




Following the recent trends, anyone with a high number of followers on social media can get anything published, from memoirs and mini novels to autobiographies and how-to books. With a little cash on hand and the right skills and tools, you can make this possible.

However, there’s just a certain ring to having your work published and praised by a publisher. Of course, you’ll need to be able to create a quality manuscript for this to happen. How do you make it? This is where proofreading and self-editing come to your rescue.

Sometimes, writers depend on hired editors to look at and improve their work for them. However, this consumes a lot of time and money. On the other hand, self-editing comes without a price.




How does learning the basics of self-editing beneficial for you? Well, it ensures that you have a high-quality manuscript before submitting it to the publisher. Though the process could be a bit time-consuming as well, you can make the work progress faster by using self-editing checklist and self-editing softwares. These tools can help you easily spot grammatical and typographical errors, such as spellings, punctuations, subject-verb agreement, and verb tense consistency.

Here are some self-editing techniques you should practice.

  • After typing in the last word on your manuscript, take several days off. Just leave it there for a while. Take your mind off your writing frenzy so when you go back to review it, you can go into full “self-editor” mode. This process will help you see your work in a new light, thus giving you a chance to identify which scenes or characters should be removed or developed.
  • See to it that you avoid over-explaining things in your manuscript. Stop yourself from submitting a manuscript with “Jane is happy. She was smiling and laughing.” If you catch yourself doing this, contact publishers that offer editing services.
  • Avoid over-dramatization by repeating characters or using more than one punctuation for emphasis. “She’s gone.” seems better to read than “She. Is. Missiiiing!!!” If you can’t avoid doing this, seek help from professional editors.
  • Check your spelling. There are a lot of online spell checkers and grammar correctors you can use.
  • Read your work aloud. Thoughts sound different once you start hearing them by ear. You get to listen to yourself and find out what’s wrong with your work as opposed to just reading them with your eyes.




Self-publishers may find self-editing time-consuming and taxing; however, many find it rewarding as well. The course gives one a chance to make sure that the manuscript is in its best form when presented to the publisher.

Are you a self-published author? Would you consider self-editing to check your own work? Let me know by leaving a comment below. You may also reach me on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads. You can also read my book Quasar, which is available at and other online retailers.



Jenkins, Jerry. 2015. “How to Edit a Book: Your Ultimate 21-Part Checklist.” Jerry Jenkins.  Accessed August 14, 2017.

Atwood, Blake. 2016. “Self-Editing Basics: 10 Simple Ways to Edit Your Own Book.” The Write Life. Accessed August 14, 2017.

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