I felt rather bad I didn’t get that bonus post done for you guys last week, so I figured I’d drop one now.
You see, the reason I didn’t get the chance to write anything is that I’ve been busy working my tail off prepping a novel for submission. A novel I wrote a couple years ago, actually. I’ve self-edited this book at least half a dozen times and it’s been through three rounds with a professional editor, but there are certain things I know now that I didn’t know six months ago, let alone two or three years ago.
One of the most annoying habits I had back then was the overuse of the word “as.” Every writer has at least one or two of these go-to words cluttering up his older work, so I’m going to show you all an extremely convenient way to spot and eliminate these pests.
You’ve probably searched with the Find function in Word before, excising that go-to word each time the program directs you to it. However, there’s a better way.
Instead of using Find, use Replace. There, type your go-to word in the top text box and again in the bottom text box. After that, just click where it says, “Format” at the bottom of the window and select the highlight option. Make sure you check the “Find whole words only” option as well if you’re searching for a short word like “as” to make sure it’s not highlighted inside larger words (i.e. “fast”).
Done. Just like that. And what do you get out of it?
Not only is every use of your go-to word highlighted in your manuscript so you have a far easier time seeing how often it appears in your pages (since there’s no giant window obscuring about a third of your screen), but Replace tells you the number of times you used that particular word. And when you’re done with your work, all you’ve got to do is open Replace back up and swap the highlight option to the top text box. Done and dusted.