Arguably nothing threatens a writer more than poor implementation of grammar. The only thing worse than having poor grammar is simply having content that no one would like to read.
It’s a Common Problem
The Word Counter is no stranger to the problems and challenges that writers face on their respective career paths. Learning how to properly use grammar actually isn’t an uncommon problem or challenge. In fact, if it were, there simply wouldn't be any need for the position of the editor.
It is a very common occurrence that a writer has trouble editing their own work. This isn’t necessarily an ego issue either but simply the fact that a lot of writers are creatives and so they are more concerned with the ‘big’ picture of their creation. Taking the time to detach from the overall impact of your work and focus on the nitty-gritty of the mechanics can be very challenging for a writer to do when it comes to their own work.
So don’t be surprised or upset with yourself if you struggle with hitting the proverbial wall when it comes to editing your own work. Finding outside sources for your editing is an indispensable tool for helping your writing stand out. Even if you have a certain amount of talent when it comes to helping others edit their work, this doesn’t always translate to the same level of editing power when it comes to focusing on your own.
Top Four Things to Focus on For Your Own Edits
So, when it comes to your own editing skills there are certain things that you can train yourself on how to catch that will move your editing process along significantly. This list won’t be exhaustive or complicated. We just want to simply point you to very common mistakes that are easy to find, easy to fix and will boost your writing content!
Homophones On the Loose!
The number one problem that is easily correctable without eating into your editors time are homophones! These are words that are phonetically identical however they have not only different spelling but also different meanings.
Common homophone examples would be words like ‘they’re’ and ‘their’ or ‘plane’ and ‘plain’. Start training your brain on how to notice these mistakes and save your editor the hassle of correcting something you can absolutely learn how to correct!
Commas don’t bring independent thoughts together! A comma splice is probably the most common mistake a writer will make when it comes to misusing the power of the comma. This happens when two independent clauses are brought together and not bridged by a conjunction or a semicolon. If you have two independent clauses then simply do the right thing and drop a period, conjunction or semicolon and not a comma!
The Sentence That Just Keeps Going
You are a writer and you are passionate and we LOVE THAT! However, that does sometimes translate to multiple thoughts not living in their own proper, independent clauses. The run-on sentence is perhaps one of the hardest grammar mistakes for a writer to catch.
The thought was electric and your fingers were flying over the keyboard. This means that being able to stand back and see the finished process as flawed can be difficult. A great way to find out if your sentences really need to be two or three separate sentences is to try and diagram the clauses. If you have independent clauses then break that bad boy up!
This is another area of the editing process you can train yourself to pick up on. Apostrophes show possession but not after possessive pronouns. Not only that, but sometimes we make a plural instead of possessive by not using apostrophes correctly. When your fingers are flying over the keyboard this is an incredibly easy mistake to make and a very easy mistake to notice and fix on the fly!
Don’t Get Discouraged!
Always remember that editing is completely unique and separate from writing. Even if you are currently tasked with being your own content editor it still requires a different side of your brain and should be a separate process.
So when it comes down to it don’t get discouraged if editing your content doesn’t come naturally to you. If you are a skilled writer then over time you’ll grow in learning how to craft better content from scratch; however don’t lose heart that your content won’t always be perfect.
Keep your chin up and keep learning as you go and simply don’t stop writing!