By Glendon Zernicke
I haven’t always been the best writer but taking English composition classes in college helped me better my self-editing and writing skills. It can be rather easy to let your writing become “bloated” or to leave out key facts that are essential to the understanding of a story. One thing I found out while I was in college is that you must know how to write if you are going to succeed. Tips like creating outlines and reading my work out loud have helped me find more of my own groove when it comes to writing. I have found that believing in my own writing skills has been the tool to make me more confident in my abilities as a writer.
No one is the perfect self-editor. We all develop trains of thought that we lay down on paper that end up sounding brilliant to us, but then end up sounding like rubbish to the reader. Its normal to us when we read our writing to not pick up on grammatical issues that we have not worked to change. For example, syntax errors like fragmented sentences, where and where not to place commas, and misusing apostrophes are all common for writers.
We all include filler language in our writing. It is easy to become opinionated, especially when discussing a topic that we feel passionately about. Instead of using language like “in my opinion” – just be forward with your thoughts. You don’t need to let the reader know that this content is from your opinion. A tip that I found useful in the process was to write what I wanted to say how I wanted to say it, and then go back and do the self-editing to remove those filler phrases in my first sets of edits.
Don’t be afraid of critique. Edits from your peers are not meant to be attacks on your personal writing style, as everyone has their own flare when it comes to expressing their thoughts. Even after self-editing and peer reviewing, it is still easy to feel like your piece could be better. I say sometimes in these situations it is almost better to trust your gut and hit “send” once you’ve done edits that you feel proud of. Confidence will come from affirmation, which serves as the ultimate key needed to help open the doors of confidence that live within us all.