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Editing Techniques for Writers with ADHD

Let’s pretend you live and breathe writing: Your blog is a labor of love, you’re passionate about the YA novel you’ve been writing for months, and you enjoy writing articles for your clients. But also imagine this: You’re easily distracted by random thoughts, overlook important directions, and miss crucial details you were supposed to include. 

Both scenarios are the reality for professional writers with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that restricts a person’s ability to concentrate and control impulses. It’s not a simple childhood disorder; among adult cases, 41.3% are deemed severe, according to the CDC

It can seem impossible to edit long-form writing like a feature article, an educational e-book, or even a novel with ADHD. You have to have the commitment, patience, and detailed precision to make your draft as clean and reader-friendly as possible, especially if you don’t have an editor or proofreader. However, you don’t have to let ADHD control your editing time. There are ways to mitigate your symptoms so that you can edit your long-form document no matter how close to the deadline it is.

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comma splice

The Price of the Comma Splice

Part of my Master of Fine Arts in fiction offered the opportunity to work as a teaching apprentice and later, an adjunct, in college composition courses. For three semesters, I commuted three hours each way to sit in on, and teach, courses for college students learning how to become stronger readers and writers.

The most common grammatical error I came across was the comma splice. This sneaky devil has appeared outside of academia, too. I’ve seen it on websites, in business publications, and even in a novel. 

The instance that stood out the most to me was actually a sentence that was both a run-on and spliced. It had two comma splices. I don’t recall the exact wording, but it went something like this:

It was a difficult time in my life, I learned a lot about change and how to cope with it, I know I can tackle everything college has to throw at me.

A comma splice is when two (or more) independent sentences are separated only by a comma, as in the example above. Basically, it’s an example of glueing the sentence parts together in a way that can confuse the reader. 

Comma splices present a unique problem for readers: They make it unclear which clauses or phrases contain the most important information.

You’re probably thinking that unless someone is a grammar guru, they’re not going to care. The truth is that while, yes, some readers might not notice and/or care, there are readers who will notice, and not in a positive way.

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productive editing

5 Tips for a Productive Editing Process

A tongue-in-cheek quote, attributed to various authors, is: “I hate writing, and I hate not writing. I only like having written.” This is a statement many authors would relate to, and perhaps this is one reason why it’s hard to pinpoint the writer who originally voiced these wise words.

I’m a writer, and I can certainly relate to this quote. However, I’m also a freelance editor, and I believe that when a writer says “I hate writing,” what they really mean is “I hate editing.”

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proofreading mistakes

Avoid Costly Proofreading Mistakes By Planning Ahead

The proofreader, the last person in the chain of people who guide, suggest, and make changes to writing before it is published, is generally the one who gets the “blame” when things go wrong with that piece of content you want to publish.

If you’ve put your soul into writing a book or a personal essay, you want it to be perfect. So, how do you get to “perfect”?

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