5 Ways to Self-Edit Your Writing

Edit Ruthlessly

Edit Ruthlessly (Photo credit: Dan Patterson)

Editing is such an important part of writing and one that we often skip. I know I have skipped this at times. For blog posts or smaller projects, it is not feasible to hire an editor unless you are making enough money to support that luxury. Most bloggers are a business of one and self-edit their posts and article writing.

There are a few self-editing steps you can do as the first line of defense that will not cost you anything.

1. Read Writing Aloud

This is something I do often, especially with my paid writing projects. Actually, with my freelance writing projects, I use several of these steps. The last thing you want to do is send a client a writing piece filled with spelling and grammar errors. This may feel funny, but your brain can catch things when reading aloud that it overlooks when reading silently in your head.

2. Use Dragon Naturally Speaking or Speech Software

While the software does have editing features, Dragon Naturally Speaking is more of a dictation tool, but it can be helpful if you get tired of typing. The software will set you back about $50.00 on Amazon.

However, if you are a Mac user, Mac OS 10.8X, or Mountain Lion, offers a read aloud tool that will read any text on the screen when you assign a certain key combination.  I LOVE this feature.

–Go to:  Applications-> System Preferences-> Speech-> Spoken User Interface

–Under “other spoken items,” check “selected text when the key is pressed” and then select a key combination (I use Option+S).

3. Use ProWriting Aid

I use Pro Writing Aid occasionally for longer pieces or articles.  It does more than just spell check and basic grammar mistakes. Here are a few additional writing checks the free software will look for:

  • Overused words;
  • Dull paragraph structure;
  • Repeated words and phrases;
  • Consistency of spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization;
  • Clichés and redundancies;
  • Vague, abstract, and complex words from your writing;
  • Sentiment, alliteration, and writing time-line.

4. Read Writing Backwards

I have not really used this method, but other writings add it to the self-editing process. Just like reading aloud, the brain will catch writing errors when read in different way. I would love to hear feedback on this method!

5. Have Friend or Family Member Read Your Writing

Sometimes, it is difficult to let someone else critique our writing. For longer or critical pieces of writing, I would recommend this. Find someone who is helpful and offer honest, useful advice. Constructive criticism. This person does not have to be a writer, but should have a firm grasp on spelling and grammar along with a fluency in the native text.

Editing should not be something that you overlook in any piece of writing. For long projects, like books, hire a professional. However, for blog posts and articles, you can apply these self-editing tips. Make it a habit.

About Julie McElroy

Julie writes for Inspired to Write where she offers tips, resources, and writing inspiration for writers and bloggers. She is also a freelance writer for various websites and blogs.


  1. i think the last one, getting your friend or family member to read for you will work out very well, because even if you haven’t make any mistake. they are here to point out thousand of mistakes for you. :D
    Hemu recently posted..Go For It Quotes

  2. 6. Take a break, walk away and read something else. Then come back and re-read your stuff.
    Btw, Dragon Naturally speaking is a great tool. I have seen some colleagues of mine use it and it is certainly a great way to ‘write’ especially if you like to write the way you speak.
    Brian Tally recently posted..Austin Anticipates New Business Openings

  3. Interesting article and really helped me was learning to write, not as easy as turning the palm of the hand writing it requires editing process after writing. thanks for sharing

  4. Great info Julie!! Thank you for sharing that

  5. great tips as usual and i enjoyed while reading these methods as they were different from others and creative too
    Rajkumar Jonnala recently posted..Facebook Security Tips to Avoid Risk

  6. I have alwalys problems to edit my writing myself. I overlook nearly most of the mistakes because I could remember so well what I hade planned to write. Without the help of my boyfriend I would be lost in mistakes.

  7. Hi,

    The best blog is the one which stick the readers to your content so we should be very careful about our content. And this post is i think one of the best. Thanx for sharing



  8. great post i like it. thank you for sharing, i hope can write better from this blog
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