Editing Myth #3: One editing pass is enough.

Posted December 13, 2011 by Amanda Shofner in Editing / 0 Comments


Editing Truth: You need more than one editing pass.

Whenever I write something for my blog, or anything anyone else sees, I read over it multiple times. I’ll probably read through this post 10+ times by the time I’ve finished writing it.  But even then, I can almost guarantee there will still be some kind of mistake. Many times I’ve had to go into a post once it’s been published and edit what I’ve written. Here are three reasons why one editing pass isn’t enough:

1. Your brain focuses on content words over function words

If you have a mistake or typo with a function word (e.g., articles, prepositions, conjunctions), your mind will probably skip over it. It can take multiple passes to notice mistakes with function words. This is true whether you’re looking at your own work or someone else’s. It’s probably easier to catch someone else’s mistakes, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to catch ALL mistakes the first time through.

2. Your brain sees what it expects to see, not what’s written

The more times you read something, the greater chance you have of catching mistakes.

3. You’re human

Humans make mistakes. We miss things, and we definitely get distracted. You WILL miss something on your first pass, no matter how diligent you are. One trick to help with catching mistakes is to focus on ONE aspect of writing each time you read your writing.

Moral of the Story: Once is NEVER enough.

Tags: ,