Lesson 8: How to Copyedit Your Own Work
- To enumerate different techniques used when copyediting your own work
- To discuss helpful tips that will increase your copyediting skills
- To delineate the main difference between copyediting the work of others and your own work
Quick Navigation through the Lesson 8:
Perhaps the one thing even more challenging than proofreading your own work is copyediting your own work. Whereas the former deals with the technicalities of the work, here you’ll be made to shave down the work where it really hurts—the arrangement of ideas, the feasibility of the format. While it’s challenging, this is definitely not impossible. Outlined below are different techniques that can help you effectively and efficiently copyedit your work for the best outcome:
Forget the Story
For a moment, you’ll need to try and forget why you love the concept and why you love the idea that you want to convey—forget the story. Instead of thinking about what you would like your work to be, focus on what is on the page in front of you: what do you want your work to be? Yes, you love that idea but does it come across in your writing? Does the execution justify the concept? To be able to honestly answer these questions, you have to be willing to let go of your attachments to the work and to the thoughts behind the work and instead focus on the work itself.
Observe Cause and Effect
Before altering your concept, allow yourself to play a little hypothetical game. Ask yourself what rearranging or removing certain parts of the text will do for the text in general. Allow yourself to consider the different possibilities so as to achieve the best possible effect for your work. Does deleting this sentence give your work more tension? Does it water down what you mean? Does it clarify? Does it confuse? Allowing yourself to ask and answer all these questions makes it easier for you know where you should make changes and where you should just let things be.
Furthermore, this will prevent making uncorrectable mistakes like deleting certain paragraphs or altering the point of view.
Keeping this in mind, always remember to save a copy of every draft that you go through. Small amounts of prudence may save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Look at the Big Picture
This is the one big advantage of copyediting your own work: you have control over the concept. As the copyeditor, you are expected to be able to keep the big picture in mind as you go along. As the writer, you came up with the concept and therefore are unable to make any changes that you don’t approve of. In between revisions, ask yourself how your work coincides with your concept—how does this chapter tie in with the theme of the novel? How does one heading contribute to the entire essay? Keeping the bigger aspect of the work in mind allows you to come up with written output that is cohesive and effective.
In this lesson, we were able to tackle the challenging task of copyediting your own work. We were able to tackle different tips that you can add on top of the other techniques which we learned in this class, thus far.
Our next lesson is about the advantages and disadvantages of working as a professional copyeditor and/or proofreader. We’ll be discussing what different responsibilities you’ll have as a professional and what the numerous privileges this can help you attain. Keep reading and you’ll be steps away from achieving your goal of becoming an excellent proofreader and copyeditor!