How to Edit like a Professional Writer

In layman’s view, finding faults or mistakes of others is one of the easiest crafts to master. For us human beings, it is just like choosing what is ugly and what is beautiful. Or, it is like sensing what is good or bad and what is perfect or imperfect. It is synonymous to a decision making process which impels us to stop or to go on with a coveted plan. It is commonly based on personal conviction which is drawn from previous experiences, from adopted culture and tradition and from background knowledge.

Editing may have a little semblance of the aforementioned. But it has the meticulous and professional touch to assemble, revise and delete. It carefully follows journalistic standard and mechanism which usually produces a presentable thesis or article. It always srtives for perfection that shuns repetitions, errors and dullness. It is a profession and a talent which fairly extracts a corresponding reward and monetary consideration. In addition to many newspapers, magazines and dissertations, editing has a respectable function in other print and broadcast media, which rely so much on the diligence and versatility of the editor. In most instances, it still boils down to the capability of the editor who upholds efficiency based on experience, talent and knowledge.

There are many simple ways to correct articles, posing like the dexterity of a professional writer. One idea is to assume ourselves as a professional one. It starts with correcting our own work at least three times, until such a time that it looks presentable. It must follow a certain guideline and timetable. Another way is to presume that we mean business in coming up with a good write-up. It checks our own mistakes and is not in a hurry to analyze every word, phrase and paragraph formation. Then we have to size up if our article is relevant, functional and original. We trace some items that must not be slanderous and vulgar. We repeat the process from time to time, with due consideration to our choice of words, spelling and grammar.

Specifically, we study the mechanics and styles of professional writers from newspapers, magazines and Internet. We appreciate their uniqueness, fame and originality. We trace how they establish coherence and appropriateness in their flow of thoughts. We discover how they keep away from redundancy or verbosity in structuring statements and opinions. We try to detect how these editors and publishers are keen and particular about topographical errors, grammar and spelling. We also observe how they apply some passages, comments and phrases which are aptly placed with corresponding punctuation marks. We also determine how they capture readers’ interest in spite of long or short presentation. Generally, we scrutinize the whole article as convincing or straightforward without “running around the bush.”

As aspiring editors, we strive for excellence. We forget about our background, whether we have studied journalism or not. What is important is that, we have to take the role to give suggestions, to paraphrase or to delete some sentences and paragraphs. However, we have to consider that this is a joint venture to promote how knowledge rules. We cannot pretend, for we cannot give what we don’t have. We have to accept the fact that nobody is perfect. Even editors are corrected through their editorials, by some readers who have also “erasers on their pencils.” Although on our part, “practice makes perfect.”