Don’t Rush Yourself

Editing is something that I struggle with. I’m getting better, but I still have trouble editing my own stories from time to time. It’s frustrating, but I’m still learning.

Last week, during Sandy, I had a bunch of problems with my writing.

It was a couple days in a row where I wasn’t being clear in my writing. It was really annoying and, looking back, I expected better from myself. We only had early deadline once last week, but I still found ways to piss off my editor and myself.

I’m not sure if I was flustered with having two stories on deadline or what, but I’m still mad about it today. I haven’t written two stories on deadline in quite some time, but there was no reason for me to be that bad last week.

I can blame it on being tired and under some stress, but, at the end of the day, that’s my job and I have to come through for my editors and the entire organization. I was the point man last week with the weather stories and I really think I should have done a better job.

My rant above goes to show how crucial editing is.

It’s the lifeblood of every newspaper. It’s more than just fixing mistakes and making stories flow better to make sense. And it helps readers to take you seriously.

Even with deadlines, I’ve learned to give myself enough time to read my story three or four times before telling my editors that the story is ready. It’s a great time to catch my breath and go through my story to make sure it makes sense.

I’ve learned that even with that extra time I still miss things. We are human, but as professionals we have to work to keep bad writing out of our stories. Just over 10 months in, I still have a lot to learn.

Some editing tips that I use include:

  1. Read copy several times before handing it in. Make sure it makes sense, flows and is easy to read.
  2. Be sure to read the story aloud. If you can’t understand what you wrote the reader won’t either.
  3. Check your quotes. Make sure you didn’t skip any words and that quotation marks are in the right spots.
  4. Do not rely on your editors to fix things for you. Be the first line of defense against bad writing.

What are some tips you use for editing your own stories?

Jonathan

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2 Responses to Don’t Rush Yourself

  1. Pingback: Craziest Friday Night « Just Starting Out

  2. Pingback: Deadlines: The Pressure | Just Starting Out

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