The Write Stuff
August 2011 Volume 7 Issue 8
The Art of Editing
Since everything you write reflects on you and/or your business, it stands to reason that you’d take every precaution to ensure your writing efforts are mistake free…right? That doesn’t seem to be the case from where I sit, as I see typos everywhere, so I thought it might be instructive to provide a few editing tips this month.
- Edit everything. Even a “lowly” e-mail deserves a quick read before you hit send, and more important documents may warrant at least a second set of eyes.
- Understand the limitations of Word tools. The spelling and grammar checks are useful only to a degree; the former will just catch misspelled words (not those that are missing or incorrectly used) and the latter often makes nonsensical suggestions. They complement, but don’t replace, the human eye and mind.
- Find your editing style. You may be comfortable simply reviewing your work on screen, while others prefer editing a hard copy. Reading aloud is a popular choice, and some swear that reading backwards is a big help. Our brains are wired differently, so experiment to find your editing style.
- Know when you need help. It can be a challenge for writers to find their own mistakes, since we’re predisposed to seeing what we believe is there. I’m not advocating you enlist someone to review every e-mail, but for critical documents, ask someone you trust to take a look. You wouldn’t want a typo to negatively affect your business.
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