Pause before editing

Pause before editingI found a cherry tomato in my welly this morning. It was redder than the ones that hadn’t rolled off the windowsill to hide in my footwear.

Rather than putting all the other tomatoes in my wellies to ripen, which has obvious risks, I’ve shut them away in a draw to mature. I take the same approach with my writing, particularly if it’s a lengthy piece.

Take a breather

I’ve found that there is no point in reworking copy over and over again as you start to miss obvious mistakes. Hammering away at it for hours wastes valuable time as you become too tunnel visioned to think objectively.

If it’s a short piece, and you’re on a tight deadline, then it’s not always feasible to leave it for too long. But even a stroll around the garden will help clear your head before a final read through.

It’s always worth taking a breather (for as long as is practically possible) before making your final edit. Let your prose take a rest in a virtual darkened draw. When you take it out again to re-read it, you’ll almost certainly spot something you missed earlier.