My Wife Showed Me The Best Editing Hack

Just reverse the order

Tom F.

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Photo by Peter Stumpf on Unsplash

I suppose many of you write in a similar way as me: Think about the ideas and the angle of a story, put a rough draft to paper and then edit until it's (more or less) presentable. When editing, I usually change some phrases to underline the message or to avoid repeated words. Also, I may change the order of sentences to maintain a logical flow.

The problem: sometimes there remain some prepositions that don't belong in the new sentence. Or some verbs are now in active voice, but word endings don’t fit. When proofreading, one tends to over-read those little inconsistencies, as our brain already knows the context of the sentence and flies over it to reduce information overload.

My wife is writing children's books as a hobby and told me to try the reverse method: I read every sentence as usual, but started with the last one and moved up to the introduction.

By this, the context gets mixed up and I can focus better on the actual structure of words in a sentence. This makes it so much easier to sport all those little misspellings, typos, and screwed grammar. I highly recommend you try the same: Next time you are editing, make a read from back to the beginning part of the routine.

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Tom F.

Engineer | SEO Writer | Dad of a GenAlpha Kiddo | Talking about Digital Parenting, Millennial Finance and the Power of Writing.