When To Self-Edit (And When To Get Help)

This post, by Jenn Mattern, originally appeared on Get Paid to Write Online on 3/21/11.

As a writer should you edit your own work? Would it be better to hire an editor? It’s a question I sometimes feel torn over. And that’s not to mention I’m always a little bit leery of writing about editing — a near guarantee of typos.

There are times when I personally wouldn’t hire a third party editor to review my work. For example, I run more than a handful of blogs. They’re largely personality-driven and they aren’t places where I obsess over grammar. As long as you don’t find typos in every other sentence, I’m okay with that. Then there are projects I wouldn’t even consider pursuing without bringing in a professional editor. The nonfiction book I’m working on is a good example.

When would you hire an outside editor? Is it always a good idea or are self-edits sometimes enough on their own? Here are some situations where I would lean towards self-editing and others where I’d suggest bringing in a pair of fresh eyes with a professional.

When Self-Editing Might Suffice


  1. You need to publish right away and can’t afford a lengthier editing process — such as with a time-sensitive article for your own blog or news site.
  2. The work is going to a client and their own editor will give it a final look-over before publication. In this case your own edits are usually fine before delivery.
  3. The writing is for your own site and your voice matters more than grammatical perfection. In the case of more personal sites and blogs, sometimes that rougher (although not sloppy) approach actually works well in connecting you to readers.

Read the rest of the post, which provides two more bullet items for When Self-Editing Might Suffice and 5 bullet items for When It’s Better To Bring In Outside Help on Get Paid to Write Online.

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