Can You Really Edit Your Own Work? Part II

Shirley Ann Parker
5 min readAug 20, 2022

Does Revision Count as Editing?

(Part I of this topic is here.)

A business man and woman “high fiving” it in an office. A laptop and other office supplies are on the table in front of them.
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

To pick up where we left off, revising your writing as you go along isn’t quite the same as editing, though it helps enormously!

Finishing an entire paragraph instead of rewriting each sentence as you go will help you complete a thought.

Sometimes, you’re able to write an entire page or three before realizing you have ideas out of order. Or even worse, that you’ve written for the wrong audience. However, that facepalm moment usually comes after you’ve walked away to do something else for at least an hour or so, or worked on a different article or chapter.

Once you look at your work with those fresh eyes, it’s often obvious what needs tweaking, moving, or even to be stricken. There will be a lot of revision. A formerly available t-shirt for members of STC (Society for Technical Communication) stated it well:

Part of the image from an STC t-shirt that starts with the word“Write,” and then repeats “Revise” 18 times before ending with the word “Publish!”
Photo by the author

Somewhere along the way, though, an editor gets to participate in that project. If there’s time, make sure you proofread and fix typos before letting anyone else see what you’ve written. Egg on your face isn’t always tasty. However, don’t let it demoralize you, unless you’re a repeat offender.

The editor may be your Senior Lead, your manager, another team with ownership in the finished product, or the Legal Department. Only in the smallest of companies is there no legal input at all, and even that might be risky for them.

No, lawyers are not always fun to work with, although personally, I’ve had very few problems with them. Once they see a person is detail-oriented, conscientious, and can be relied on to produce accurate work with obvious questions identified, you can have a harmonious relationship.

You might eventually get to tease a lawyer about taking all the joy out of your work, but Be Careful! Not all lawyers have a sense of humor. Moreover, in some industries, they can’t show the least amount of levity. Too much is at stake, including people’s very lives.

Shirley Ann Parker

UK emigrant to USA. Interests: Wildlife, people, mental health, religion. Help me tear down society’s abuses.