1. This is a great exercise (one of my favorites): sit down and just write a sentence or better yet take a sentence you already wrote somewhere else. Remove a word that probably isn't necessary. Now do this five more times. Compare the results. Read the first sentence out loud and then read the second sentence out loud. Which sentence is better written?
2. If you want to do a thorough edit, read your manuscript backwards. It can be tedious, but what you're really doing is looking at it word by word.
3. Another excellent technique to edit is to take a piece of paper and cover up the other words. Our eyes has a tendency to wander without us realizing it. Covering up the other words keep your focused.
4. Really great writers typically don't make this mistake, but it's my pet peeve: ending a sentence with a passive verb like is, are, was, would, etc.
5. The infamous passive voice. When you avoid writing in the passive voice your writing will improve. Active voice gives writing what I like to call a "pop". English students have this advice hammered into them from English 1A.
6. Redundant writing and using the same words and phrases over and over again. It's easy to fall into that trap. Redundancy weakens the work. Keep each word or phrase fresh throughout the entire work. Just use your Thesaurus if you get stuck on a word.
7. Finally, no matter what set aside at least one hour a day to write. Many people have day jobs and that can be tricky, but your book will never be finished without doing it. So, whether it's before or after work or even on your lunch break, set aside your writing time.
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