Make Your Editing Less Painful. Become a Great Writer.

Editing triumphs in a craft that focuses on writing.

Sean Kernan
5 min readOct 24, 2020


Source: pic rights purchased via istock

As a professional writer, with various clients and deadlines swirling around me, my keyboard is the source of most danger. I’ve published things with horrifically embarrassing typos that were seen by tens of thousands of people. The typo hangover was real.

For example, the other day I was writing about ducks. Specifically, I was writing about how ducks quack in different accents based on where they’re from. That’s right. There’s a duck out there rocking a hot Aussie duck accent.

I did three full read-throughs on my final draft. I thought, “I think it looks good? I haven’t seen any issues in the last two reads.” I held my finger over the submit button. Then I felt that all-powerful tingle in the back of my mind.

“Alright. One more read.”

And in this third and final read-through, I saw it. Right there, straddling the front of the piece, carrying a flag with my name on it, was this:

“F — k Fact about Ducks”

Thankfully, I caught the error and corrected it (“Fun Fact”).

Editing sucks. It’s janitorial. But, in many ways, editing is more important than writing. My life as a writer has only further reinforced that fact. If you want to become a great writer, you must not only master editing but also learn to enjoy it.

Perfect the art of ranking your children

A bad writing session is like a doomed marriage. It starts out with so much excitement and promise. Then, it gets ugly, confusing, and you just want a way out.

Your article should have been a masterpiece. But now it resembles a ransom note cut from different magazines.

The fix

Take your strongest sentences and move them to the top of the piece. Don’t be afraid to uproot them from their original paragraph. It doesn’t matter if they don’t fit yet. They can sit as individual sentences for now.

This does two things:

  1. It helps you learn to edit with cold blood. As a writer, you must choose your favorite children



Sean Kernan

Always on the hunt for a good story. That guy from Quora. Writing out of Tampa, Florida.