An Illustration of the Editing Process|
How You Can Improve Your Own Writing
Following is an illustration that shows how an acceptably written piece can still be improved through the editing process. The writing sample is taken from a section of this web site.
Phase 1: Beginning Version—Not Too Bad
- Much of what is submitted for editing is not on this high a level.
- This piece makes sense. Grammar, punctuation and spelling are nearly correct. What more can be done?
You want what you write to make a strong impression. You want your writing to show that you are a competent, approachable professional in your field. Your written communications need to have a clear message and should enhance your professional image. Here are four ways to make your writing better.
Know what message you want to convey before you begin to write. Even if you plan to write a message that is pages long, you should be able to state clearly in just one sentence the main idea that you want your readers to take away from it. In simple terms, if you don't know what you want to say, you'll never be able to say it.
Know who will be reading your message before you begin to write. Are you writing for people in general who are uninformed or for a special group who already know a lot of information about your field? Plan to vary the content depending on your intended audience's needs and level of understanding.
Aim to be clear and concise in expressing your message. Say what you have to say in plain English. Avoid choosing lots of big words to be impressive. You will only sound pretentious. Instead, choose fewer words with more precise meanings so that you can say what you mean.
After writing a first draft, review your work to correct errors and make improvements. When possible, let enough time go by so that what you have written has a chance to fade from your mind. Read your message out loud to give yourself a chance to hear what you might have missed visually.
Use these guidelines in your writing before you submit it for editing in order to get the most benefit from my services on your behalf. When obvious problems are at a minimum, I can spend my time and effort making more subtle improvements to your message.