Tips & Tricks

Self Edit Hacks 101

In a previous post, I took self editing and broke it down to revisions and edits along with what things should be looked at in each part. If you missed that post, you can find it here—

In this post, I will cover some of my go-to hacks to make the revision and editing process easier.

Most people use Microsoft Word or something similar. The easiest thing to do in those programs is change the font style, text size, and font color. These three things, used together and by themselves, causes your brain to stop assuming what is there and read the words actually there. If you start to find yourself skimming, change one, two, or all three and continue. Some people’s brains catch onto this hack quickly while others can use this trick for numerous manuscripts.

Font section of the Home Tab in Microsoft Word

If you’re using Microsoft Word, there are two other options when it comes to color changes. Under options, you can change the theme of your Microsoft Word, turning the background and program bars from a blue to a light grey to almost a blackish grey, and some versions of Word come with a few more options.

Location of Background and Theme change in Microsoft Word

Another option is found Design Tab. Here you can change the page color, and Microsoft Word adjust the text to stay legible. You can go all black with white font or funky cyan with yellow. You can go in manual and change the font color as well, leading to all sorts of combos.

From built-in options to downloadable apps, text-to-voice or AI readers read the text on the screen aloud. Hearing things aloud lets you listen to the cadence of the words and the way the sentences and paragraphs are strung together. This can help you add more detail, clarify points, and realize you use the same word too close together.

It’s a commonly used option that even Microsoft Word comes with a Read Aloud function.

It is located on the left side of the Review Tab.

If you’re tired of being chained to the computer, the next two options provide alternatives. By changing what device you’re reading on or the location in which you’re reading, it actives different parts of your brain and senses, giving you a “new” experience when reading. It’s related to the same reason people who read via a paperback or a sheet of paper notice things compared to reading on a screen or a table, and why reading something in the living room feels different when you read it at the kitchen table or at your favorite coffee shop.

While there are dozens of tips and tricks you’ll discover on your adventure, I hope these few make the revision process easier. Someone somewhere in the world needs your book, and they probably don’t even realize it. So keep writing and keep moving forward.

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This post was edited with ProWritingAid.

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