Let's imagine you've now 'done' whatever
it is you wanted to do. Was it as good (or as
bad) as you imagined? What were the consequences? If it's
something you've always
dreamed of doing, it's probably best to make sure the
outcome is a good one, otherwise
it'll leave you feeling terribly disappointed.
But what if this thing you've always dreamed
of doing turns out to be a bad experience?
Here's something you might like to try. Offer to edit another
writer's work for him, and get someone else to edit that
same piece of writing as well. You're now in competition
with each other to see who can find the most mistakes.
This is a great way of learning to edit more effectively
and efficiently. The competition element forces you to scrutinise
the writing more closely - and teaches you to do the same
when you edit your own work.
Both competitors (and/or the author) will need to agree
that the mistakes you've identified are actually
mistakes, of course, not just differences of style. Some
people use more commas than others, for example, but that
doesn't necessarily mean they're wrong.
This is also a good exercise for writing groups. Give each
member an identical copy of a short story or article that's
not quite up to publication standard, and get them to mark
all the errors they find with a red pen. They could also
suggest other improvements in style, rewording, and so on.
At the next meeting, analyse the results and award a prize
to whoever found the most genuine errors and/or made the
best improvements. The person whose writing was being worked
on will also have benefited from some free editing and critiquing.
Perhaps each member could take it in turns to offer up one
of their pieces for a regular (monthly, quarterly or yearly)
editing competition. Or perhaps one of the members could
write something that deliberately contains several errors,
and everyone else has to try to spot them.
Buy the complete Volume 4 (Writing,
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Getting Ideas, Getting Published,
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