Moderately Meditated: Self-Editing

English: Hands collaborating in co-writing or ...

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Why is it so hard to self-edit?

Most people would say that it’s important to be able to shut off the inner-editor so that writing quickly and freely becomes a much more manageable task. But what do you do when your editor needs to be switched on?

One of the hardest parts of writing isn’t actually the writing itself, but the editing. This is especially true for authors trying to edit their own pieces. It’s very difficult to critique something you put your heart into. But if you are lucky enough to notice that something is wrong with your piece, you may not be lucky enough to know exactly what it is.

Last night I found myself grappling with a self-editing issue. My solution? Ask someone else. After emailing a friend and persistently knocking on the door of a fellow English major, I got some feedback. Even after a really helpful editing session with my friends, I still had a hard time fixing my piece. How do I figure out exactly what my story needs to be better?

I finally managed to fix a few of the issues my classmates pointed out, but only after staring at the screen for a long time (maybe longer than necessary). Eventually I sat myself down (literally) and asked myself what it was I wanted to communicate with this story. What’s my point? What’s my conflict? Why should anyone read this?

I’m not sure if I can answer those yet, but I did “finish” my story (are they ever finished?).

Fellow writers! Help! Any insights? How do you go about editing yourself? Helpful tips are welcome!

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