Can you imagine how awesome it would be, if you had an editor on hand to re-read passages you’d written, and give you some ideas of what worked, where you’d repeated yourself or added redundant phrases, where the story was wandering? How handy would that be? And imagine if that editor were absolutely free, and all it cost you was a little time?
You know what I’m going to say, right?
You DO have an editor on constant standby. This editor is always there when you need them, and they know all about the story/article/dissertation you’re writing, and the direction in which you want to take it.
No, silly. It’s not me. (Although obviously I’m here to help!) It’s YOU.
Sometimes writers will send me work which is little more than a draft, and while I’m happy to go through it and and help, I explain to them that it would be cheaper and quicker for them if they had only gone over it before they sent it to me. All they needed to do was read it back to themselves, just once! Just one time and they would find a lot of the errors themselves. Just one time, and they would be able to appreciate the areas where the words were shiny bright, and the areas where they were muddied and fumbled.
I don’t mind being that editor–the first editor. I quote based on the work that needs doing, and I’m happy to do that to make the work as good as it can be. But if you’re not reading your own writing, you’re missing out on learning from it, and from seeing just what you can do–and how you can improve. By reading your own work first, being your own first editor, you also begin to find your own mistakes.
Others’ feedback is, of course, invaluable. But don’t dismiss your own. You’ve done all the hard work by writing your story or essay. You should be the first to be able to read it, and enjoy it!