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Editing your own work

I’m one of those irritating people who can spot a spelling mistake or a rogue apostrophe from 50 paces. As a consequence, when I made the decision to self-publish I thought it would be easy for me to edit my own work.

Turns out I was wrong.

I like to check through my finished book before letting my wife see it. Part of it is personal pride but I also want her to be able to read it in as natural a way as possible. I don’t want the flow of the story to be interrupted by her having to stop to decipher some bizarre typo or read the same adjective used three times in a single sentence.

Do you remember at school being told to check over your answers when you finished an exam? I used to hate doing that and now I realise their advice was somewhat pointless. Whilst your own words are still fresh in your mind you don’t read them properly. Having observed the start of a sentence your brain then fills in the blanks with what it remembers you were trying to write. At first I feared it was merely complacency on my part but no matter what potential distractions I tried to remove I still found myself unable to spot even some glaring errors.

Fortunately my wife also edits my work both in terms of SPaG, and where she thinks I’m waffling on a bit too much. What I found interesting is that when I was performing the last checks on Gamekeeper Turned Poacher, it was like I was reviewing it with fresh eyes. With a couple of months between finishing it and getting it ready for release it was though I had stopped being the author and was now the reader. I’m not saying I fully regained my almost pedantic obsession for spotting the mistakes in others’ work but I was pleased (and a little shocked) to find how many things still required tweaking.

Indeed, it is with regret that there will inevitably be the odd mistake that slips through to the final version that you read. It pains me to have to accept it and I want to thank you for your understanding.

You may be wondering why I am telling you this. Truth be told, it is not only a diversion tactic but also a way of seeking to justify why it is now the middle of the day and I haven’t yet started the arduous task of editing the book I finished yesterday.

I guess I had better get down to it at some point otherwise I might as well change my career title to blogger rather than author.

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