You’ve brainstormed and drafted and revised. The time to edit has arrived.
First, take a spin on editing the manuscript yourself. The most effective method I have found to use while self-editing is to read my manuscript aloud. Something triggers our minds to a more present awareness when we speak what we see. It’s easier to catch the flaws and perfect the cadence of our message. Go slowly. Your patience will be rewarded with a much cleaner manuscript.
However, self-editing will get most writers only so far. There is one final step we must take. Allow someone else to read your work. Yes, this can feel immensely vulnerable.
This task is not simply to share your message far and wide (yet!). This is asking another person to provide helpful critique about the message you have labored over for months, or even years. This can feel incredibly personal, so you must find someone you trust.
Having friends and family members read your manuscript can be richly helpful in making sure that the message you’re hoping to convey has come through effectively. It’s helpful to ask them: Does it even make sense?
But, eventually, you will also need to bring inprofessional assistance. You will want someone who knows what to look for; someone with fresh eyes who can see your words with incredible clarity. You never know when you’ll have mentally inserted a word into a text that isn’t actually printed.
Fresh eyes are hugely helpful. And, they are absolutely necessary if you intend to move forward to the next step of publication.