How to edit your own story when you’re broke

Drawing of an owl illustrating an article about How to edit your own storyIn an ideal world all writers would be able to afford the best of editors.

But, we are not in an ideal world. Most writers don’t have much money and we have seen our incomes go down even more over the last ten years.

Yet editing is vital and if you are wondering exactly what a good editor can do for you then you should read this.

But, if you are self-publishing and you simply cannot afford an editing service, what can you do?

Sometimes we have to do the best we can with whatever resources we have.

However, no matter how tiny your budget is you should realize how important editing is.

There are people who will perform editing work for you quite cheaply so before you start trying to edit your own story you should read this.


If you have no budget at all for editing then you need to call on a friend and swap favours.

Always return the favour – if you want to keep your friends.

You could babysit, walk their dog, spring clean their cupboards, or if you have writer friends you can swap manuscripts.

Before you give your friend the manuscript do make sure you have spell checked using a decent spell checker and do this several times.

Don’t forget that when you make small revisions you can also be adding in some extra typos that are easy to miss – after all you already proofed this right???


One great tip is to change the font you were using when you were writing the story and increase the size.

This changes your perspective on the work and helps you see those typos you missed.

Only after going through your work with a fine tooth-comb should you give it to your friend.


  1. Ask for criticism.
  2. Ask for suggestions.
  3. Ask for honesty.

After they are finished, read their suggestions and criticisms slowly, right the way through.

Assess each suggestion with care. Be rigorous in your assessment – don’t lead with your ego and don’t take offense.

The criticism may sting but remember your friend honored you by reading your work.

Be grateful and remember you could be throwing out good advice.


The last thing you can do is to read your work aloud.

It takes time but believe me you will always, always, find a typo or three, hiding in the small print.

Don’t forget if you don’t find those typos there will be plenty of readers out there who will!

Best of luck!


P.S. All the creative writing tips and information are provided here free for you. All I ask is that you leave a comment in the box and like, or share so that others may learn too.

To read more about the importance of editing click here.

For some really useful creative writing exercises click here.









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