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I thought of naming this writeup "the trouble with editing your own work", but decided that editing blindness sounded more clever and is actually quite descriptive of what often happens when you've been working on the same thing for a long time. You reach a stage where you develop all kinds of blind spots and become completely incapable of editing your own work. It could be any piece of writing, a movie, a play or some other creation.

I have to be my own editor most of the time, so this happens to me a lot. But I know it happens to others, too - the lack of editing by someone with the slightest bit of distance can often be quite obvious.

Symptoms and results

Some simple, but useful advice

  • Take a break - put some distance between yourself and your work. That is, if you have the time. If you're anything like me, there will probably be some deadline way too close for you to take 24 hours off from what you were doing. Try to squeeze in a short break, though, move around, go for a walk, think about something else if at all possible. Then return to edit your work and try to pretend you're not reading it/seeing it/listening to it for the umpteenth time.
  • If you know yourself to make typos and have to spellcheck your own writing: read the text backwards. It's slow, but it makes you focus on each word and breaks up a tendency to ignore errors in context, particularly in a context that you probably know by heart and speed through. Rather clever advice from an old teacher of mine and also Roninspoon.
  • The most obvious advice of all: If possible, get someone to help you go through your work and tell you what it looks like. Not necessarily someone used to editing, but it should be someone whose judgment you trust and who will be more honest than polite. Someone who has not been there to follow the whole process, someone with a little distance to what you've created.

Feel free to /msg me your own advice, which I will include with credits, insults on my stupidity at editing or other opinions on the subject.

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