1. Get some distance from the text! It’s hard to edit a paper that you’ve just finished writing—it’s still too familiar, and you tend to skip over a lot of errors. Put the paper aside for a few hours, days, or weeks. Go for a run. Take a trip to the beach. Clear your head of what you’ve written so you can take a fresh look at the paper and see what is really on the page. Better yet, give the paper to a friend—you can’t get much more distance than that. Someone who is reading the paper for the first time, comes to it with completely fresh eyes.
2. Decide what medium lets you edit most carefully. Some people like to work right at the computer, while others like to sit back with a printed copy that they can mark up as they read.
3. Try changing the look of your document. Altering the size, spacing, color, or style of the text may trick your brain into thinking it’s seeing an unfamiliar document, and that can help you get a different perspective on what you’ve written.
4. Find a quiet place to work. Don’t try to do your editing in front of the TV or while you’re chugging away on the treadmill. Find a place where you can concentrate and avoid distractions.
5. If possible, do your editing in several short blocks of time, rather than all at once—otherwise, your concentration is likely to wane.
6. If you’re short on time, you may wish to prioritize your editing tasks to be sure that the most important ones are completed.
- Writing, Reviewing and Editing: Not to be Confused (tutoringtoexcellence.blogspot.com)
- Which Comes First? Proofreading vs. Editing (rhetoricallyurs.wordpress.com)
- 8 Copy Editing Tricks to Make You Look Professional – Whiteboard Friday (seomoz.org)
- How to edit out crap from your manuscript (casyb360.wordpress.com)