Simon says take 5 giant steps away from the work. Pull my head out of the details and look at it as if it’s not my own. This is how I’ve started approaching the editing of the past couple revisions of the book I’m writing. I read it as if it’s not my book. I read it as if I’m one of my few close friends who I have asked to review the current draft.
So, when I see something that seems unclear or awkward or just not right, I don’t have the burden of having to find a fix. All I do is flag it as needing work. I attach sticky-notes that generally state what’s wrong with the sentence, paragraph, or entire section. Then I move on. It makes this first part of the editing process easy – just point out problem areas.
But of course, as the writer of the book I still have to eventually go back and fix all the problems I had flagged. But I’ve noticed that I catch a lot more weaknesses with this two-step editing process.
And maybe by first pretending I’m not the writer, rather just a reviewer, I’m dodging my ego; my ego that usually has problems recognizing my own errors. It sure can be hard to do good writing when my self-centered human nature gets in the way.