Improvement comes from practice & process. And when I think process, I focus more on editing rather than the writing itself. A clear process has helped me make consistent strides in my writing skills.
- Write first, then edit. I don't combine them or I'll run in place.
- Use spell check, but don't completely rely on it as a defense for errors. I have to recognize the difference between "pubic" and "public."
- Step away. I see screw-ups clearer if I let a piece "breathe" and then come back to proofread.
- Change viewing formats. For me, reading things on paper helps me catch more mistakes than on screen.
- Change locations. I often take the format change concept further by printing a piece and then reading it elsewhere. If it's a nice day, I print my work and edit it while outside. It may seem quirky but a location change can make a difference.
- Read aloud and change anything that sounds like gibberish. If I have to repeat something a few times to comprehend it, I usually tweak it to add clarity.
- Read all the way through. I consider things as a unit before I make sweeping changes. I also note where I repeat myself, then consider sprinkling in synonyms rather than overusing key words or phrases.
- Macro edit. I first consider the larger picture. Is there fluff that needs to be removed? Is key info missing? Does the piece flow? I try to get the big stuff right, then dive into the details. Otherwise, I’ll waste time carefully editing things that I’ll later cut.
- Micro edit. Once I'm broadly happy, it’s time to trim. People tend to use more words than necessary. So I pretend each word costs a dollar and I want to save money. I analyze the relevance of every sentence and each word. And I tweak sentences so they're using active voice whenever possible.
- Reread. Sometimes I accidentally edit in mistakes or delete key information. So I print again, move to another location and read aloud. Then I do all the steps again until I think it's polished.
- Spell check again - just in case. There are a lot of moving pieces when writing & editing. It would be foolish to believe these changes happen without a single misspelling.
I think real improvement can be found through stronger editing...and maybe that overall concept can work for you.