Writers Without Editors: How to Edit Your Own Writing


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Writers Without Editors: How to Edit Your Own Writing

Freelancers, writers and independent journalists will gain the skills they need to polish their own prose.

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SKU: NUOGS10-19 Category: Tags: ,


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Teaching dates

May 17 – June 9, 2019

Live virtual coaching sessions

Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Eastern time

May 21, May 28,  June 4

Live video sessions

Fridays at 2 p.m. Eastern time

May 24, May 31, June 7

If you’re unable to attend a live session, there will be a recording available.

In a world where speed is of the essence, there’s less time for the many layers of editing that have traditionally stood between writers and readers. Fortunately, if you write, you have a facility for language that you can use to edit. In this six-session course, you’ll gain the skills you need to polish your own prose.

Week 1

You’ll learn how to break the chain of expectations and build the confidence that comes with being able to take a fresh viewpoint. With Merrill Perlman and your classmates, you’ll also concentrate on finding typos, word usage problems, context problems and other “micro” concepts.

Week 2

You will build on the techniques you used in Week 1 to break the chain of expectations. In the live webinar and virtual coaching session, you will learn to compare what you’re reading to what you know — or think you know — and to listen for those speed bumps.

Week 3

In the final webinar and virtual coaching session, you’ll take those concepts and expand them to story structure. You will learn how to read logically through a story, paying attention to flow and organization.

What will I learn

  • How to overcome the pitfalls of editing work that you have created
  • How to check your work for clarity, organization and understanding
  • How to find more errors in copy, whether of style, grammar, punctuation or flow
  • How to correct errors more efficiently and effectively

Who should take this course

Writers, bloggers, producers and others who want to look critically at their work in a way that avoids typos, errors in logic, flow or organization, or other flaws that lead to miscommunication. This course is perfect for freelancers and independent journalists who don’t have access to traditional editors.


Merrill Perlman

Merrill Perlman is a consultant who works with news organizations, private companies and journalism organizations, specializing in helping people better edit and communicate. She spent 25 years at The New York Times in jobs ranging from copy editor to director of copy desks, in charge of all 150-plus copy editors at The Times. (Both titles are, sadly, extinct at the Times.) She is an adjunct assistant professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and writes the Language Corner column for the Columbia Journalism Review. Merrill is a member of the executive committee of ACES: The Society for Editing and of its Education Fund, She has received the Missouri Honor Medal from the Unversity of Missouri, the Glamann Award from ACES, and the Charles R. O’Malley Award for Excellence in teaching from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. She was a reporter for four years before becoming an editor.

About online group seminars

In an online group seminar, you will gather with other participants in a virtual space, logging in from anywhere, day or night, over the course of several weeks. A faculty member guides the group through new material, moderates discussions and provides individual feedback.

Time estimate

The content of this course unfolds over several weeks. There are few scheduled live meeting times. Except for several live discussions, you’ll be able to learn on a schedule that works for you. The minimum time commitment each week is three to four hours.


We’d love to hear from you. Email us at info@newsu.org.