Did you miss our PBR7 ‘Waiting’ Webinar last Sunday? Well, just in case, we’ve put together some more self-editing tips so you can get your PBR7 submissions polished and ready! Self-editing is one of the most difficult parts of being a writer; dependant on the piece, I know I can go from not liking anything I’ve written to wanting to keep and protect all of it so it’s a bit of a roller coaster when it comes to editing it myself! Normally, I ask one of my writing friends to do an initial edit, so that I can use her feedback to start critiquing myself but even then it can be hard. So, how can you combat the self-editing block? I always start by, if possible, printing out whatever piece I want to edit. Your eyes will skip over things on the screen because you have already ‘read’ it when you wrote the piece and therefore your brain doesn’t always pick up on the mistakes. Printing it out so it’s on paper in front of you, rather than on a screen, changes it up enough that your brain will spot issues. Failing that, change the text colour on the word document and maybe make it a bit larger. That way it looks like something you haven’t read before and you’re more likely to identify any errors!


Another component to self-editing is knowing what to edit. If you’re the person who is too critical, and you end up stripping away most of what you’ve written, try editing in chunks. For example, say to yourself you have to take out at most 50 words from the piece. Then anything else, you have to rewrite rather than just delete. Not only will it save your word count, it will also make you think about your writing in a new light and maybe next time, you won’t be quite as willing to get rid of everything. On the flip side, if you’re the person who doesn’t want to cut anything from your work, you need to get comfortable with detoxing your work. Ask yourself, would the piece work without that extra adjective, or few sentences of dialogue? If the answer is yes, get rid of it. Another way to identify where you need to edit is to search in the document for typical sentence starters (as, if, then, I etc). The document should highlight them all and you can see where you’ve used the same word too close together so you can get rid of, or change it. Once you get over the barrier of not wanting to change anything, the editing becomes a lot simpler.


Finally, read your piece aloud. So many times, when I’ve gone to read a piece out loud in a seminar or at a reading, I’ve found myself having to edit it as I go along because as I’ve said a sentence, I’ve realised it doesn’t actually make sense. Doing that before you send it off will help you identify any areas that just really don’t work, even if you hadn’t seen them written down.

We hope our #ThursdayTalks Self-Editing crash course helps you edit your own PBR7 submissions! Remember, the closing date is the 30th November. You can find all the gudelines here: and, when you’ve self-edited and think it’s ready, you can send it !