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Want to avoid embarrassing mistakes and ensure your writing is polished and professional? Make proofreading a habit! By taking the time to review your work for errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation, you can avoid common mistakes that can damage your credibility and reputation. Don’t let simple mistakes hold you back. Start proofreading today and take your writing to the next level!

The Art of Editing

Writing is often seen as a joyful release, a way to express oneself creatively and freely. However, the true magic happens when we turn our attention to the art of editing. As Dr. Seuss so aptly put it, “the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” In other words, excessive or unnecessary verbiage can be overwhelming and detract from the reader’s enjoyment of the work.

Editing requires a certain level of detachment and objectivity, as Stephen King advises: ‘Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.’ This means being willing to let go of those precious words or phrases that we hold onto so dearly, but ultimately do not serve the piece as a whole.

Colette suggests that being an author is more than just putting words on paper, it also involves being able to judge the worth of one’s own work without pity: ‘Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.’ This requires a level of discernment and self-criticism that can be difficult to cultivate, but is necessary for producing high-quality writing.

Vladimir Nabokov famously rewrote every word he ever published, demonstrating the importance of careful and deliberate editing: ‘I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.’ This level of attention to detail and commitment to the craft is what separates great writers from the rest.

Tiffany Madison paints a more daunting picture of the editing process, describing it as a prison where the bars are our former intentions and the warden our own neuroticism: ‘While writing is like a joyful release, editing is a prison where the bars are my former intentions and the abusive warden my own neuroticism.’ However, as S. Kelley Harrell suggests, this process of refining our work is what forces us to grow and expand our knowledge: ‘Editing is the very edge of your knowledge forced to grow–a test you can’t cheat on.’

Ultimately, the art of editing comes down to precision, as Jacques d’Aboise wisely observes: ‘There is a thing called precision. There’s a thing called editing. Being precise and knowing how to edit – that’s the secret of being creative.’

Are you tired of submitting work with embarrassing errors that damage your reputation? Don’t rely solely on a computer’s spell-checking software! Proper proofreading is a science that goes beyond just identifying and correcting spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. It requires specialised knowledge and experience to ensure your work is polished and professional. And editing, as an art form, enhances the overall quality of your writing by improving flow, readability, and structure. By taking the time to properly proofread and edit your work, you can ask important questions about your audience and whether your message is being conveyed effectively. Don’t settle for mediocre writing. Upgrade your skills with proper proofreading and editing techniques.

Writing is a process, and revision is an important step in that process. No matter how talented you are as a writer, your first draft is likely to have room for improvement. Revision gives you the opportunity to take a step back, reassess your work, and make it the best it can be.

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The Revision Process

Here are some hacks and tips to help improve your editing skills:

  1. Read backwards: Start at the end of the document and work your way backwards. This will help you focus on individual words and sentences, rather than getting caught up in the flow of the writing.
  2. Print it out: Sometimes, it’s easier to catch mistakes on paper than on a screen. Printing out your document can also help you see the big picture of your writing.
  3. Use a ruler: To prevent your eyes from skipping ahead, place a ruler or other straight edge under each line as you read.
  4. Take a break: After finishing your writing, take a break before you start editing. This will give you fresh eyes and a new perspective on your work.
  5. Use a checklist: Create a checklist of common errors you tend to make and refer to it as you edit.
  6. Use grammar tools: There are a number of online grammar tools that can help you catch common errors. Try Grammarly or Hemingway Editor.
  7. Read out loud: Reading your writing out loud can help you catch errors in grammar and flow.
  8. Get a second opinion: Ask a friend or colleague to read your work and give you feedback. Sometimes, a fresh perspective can help you see mistakes you might have missed.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

Here are some exercises that can help enhance editing skills:

  1. Correct the errors: Find a sample piece of writing, such as an article or essay, that contains several spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Edit the errors and compare your corrections to the correct answers.
  2. Identify the errors: Take a piece of writing and identify all the errors you can find, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Make a list of the errors you find and compare your list to the correct answers.
  3. Paraphrase: Take a paragraph from a piece of writing and rewrite it in your own words. This exercise can help you develop the ability to identify the main ideas of a piece of writing and express them in a clear and concise manner.
  4. Identify the tone: Read a piece of writing and identify the tone. Is it formal or informal? Serious or humorous? Sarcastic or sincere? Understanding the tone of a piece of writing can help you edit it for clarity and consistency.
  5. Rearrange the structure: Take a piece of writing and rearrange the structure of the sentences and paragraphs. This exercise can help you develop the ability to identify and correct awkward sentence and paragraph structures.
  6. Simplify complex sentences: Take a complex sentence and simplify it while retaining its meaning. This exercise can help you develop the ability to identify and correct convoluted sentences.
  7. Practice summarising: Take a lengthy piece of writing and summarise it in a few sentences. This exercise can help you develop the ability to identify the most important points of a piece of writing and express them clearly and concisely.
  8. Write concisely: Take a paragraph or sentence and edit it for conciseness. This exercise can help you develop the ability to express ideas clearly and efficiently, without unnecessary or redundant words.

By practicing these exercises regularly, you can develop your editing skills and become a more effective editor.

If you would like to see how this works in the real world then why not check out my best-selling VIRO series on Amazon. The books tell the story of Jake, a boy with special needs looking for his missing mother. Jake wakes one morning to find his life is broken. His mum has gone missing. The world has fallen apart. Determined to find her, Jake is forced to comes to terms with what has happened to the world. Confronted by the horror, he initially struggles to make sense of everything. Helped by the new friends he makes, Ellis, kind and resourceful, and the twins, Amber and Abe, Jake starts to develop his independence. Forced to confront the apparent difference defined by his special needs, Jake realises that this difference doesn’t matter any more. This gives him the strength to keep going. As they fight for survival, the four kids meet a wide range of other people also battling to stay alive and with each encounter Jake and his new friends learn a little bit more about themselves and each other. Ultimately, Jake’s story is one of hope and determination in the face of complete and utter devastation.

Here are some real-world reviews for the VIRO series:

‘This review is for the series. Capturing the voice of a young character with special needs (I spent 25 years as a special education teacher/administrator), Taylor’s story of a group of young people coping with a world disintegrating in front of them; with the loss of structure and trust, and with betrayal by the adults who should be protecting them is both uplifting and horrifying. Do not be fooled by the simple language of the narrator: there are hard questions asked and realistic, unsentimental consequences to the apocalypse confronting the children, and an ending that you are unlikely to forget easily.’

‘Barnaby Taylor has a daring and rich imagination that transports you to new adventures in a re-imagined world, that are vividly written with a fresh and vibrant use of language. […] Barnaby can really write an action packed scene with fear inspiring characters such as the Tall Man. Baxter the dog who accompanies the children gives the story the delightful twist of feeling like an apocalyptic Famous Five. Genius.’

‘The writing style is beautifully compelling, and after the first couple of pages I couldn’t put it down. The author very skilfully creates a world and characters through deceptively simple prose that draws the reader right in. It is a fascinating blend of one-after-the-other edge-of-the seat scares, alongside a haunting narrative about what it is to be human.’

‘Barnaby is an exciting and passionate writer. There’s real depth of meaning behind his books. You emotionally engage with and care about the book’s characters. Barnaby’s books also have a strong visual sensibility. His stories particularly Viros I and II would translate superbly to television and cinema. I am a huge fan of all things zombie orientated and to see the zombie genre reinterpreted from the perspective of children is thrilling. I look forward to more books from Barnaby. He’s one to watch out for. Children, adults and I suspect the film and TV industry people will love this book. I highly recommend it.’

‘I absolutely loved this book. Powerful and poignant, ‘Viro’ packs a punch. Sad and haunting, ‘Viro’ is a new take on the zombie genre. The characters are dynamic and interesting, finding strength despite their horrifying circumstances. Jake is a character that will stick with you long after the final page. The action sequences are thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat!’

Dear Writing Friends,

As a writer, it can sometimes be difficult to find the support and encouragement we need to keep going. That’s why it’s so important to connect with others who share our passion and can offer valuable feedback and advice. Leaving a comment is a great way to start a conversation and connect with other writers who are on a similar journey.

By sharing our experiences, challenges, and successes, we can learn from each other and grow as writers. We can offer encouragement and support when someone is struggling, and celebrate each other’s achievements when they reach a milestone.

Furthermore, starting a conversation can help to hold us accountable to our writing goals. When we share our progress with others, we are more likely to stay committed to our writing and make meaningful progress towards our goals.

Finally, leaving a comment and starting a conversation is an excellent way to build community and find the support and encouragement we need to keep writing. So why not take a moment to share your thoughts and connect with other writers today?

Also, as a thank you for reading this post I have created two free books for you to download. How to Journal is a handy guide to journaling and I hope it helps you get started. How to Unlock Your Curiosity will help you develop your creativity. You can find both free books at the top of the page.

Good luck with your writing,


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