Friday, June 26, 2009

Don't forget to edit.

If you are writing a story, a book, a letter, memo, an email, a press release or report, editing is a crucial step. Don’t skip it. Here are some reasons to remember to take a minute or two to edit your writing or to hire someone to edit it for you:

1. Good writing shows that you take your business seriously and that you are a professional. It shows that you intend to communicate clearly with others. Your writing is a direct reflection on you and your business. Don’t let errors reflect poorly on you.

2. At times, it will be important for you to write with flourish and to have your readers savor every word. In these cases, it is particularly important to ensure that there are no errors to interrupt the rhythm and flow of the writing.

3. At other times, our writing is more utilitarian. We use it to gain the reader’s attention and to convey a succinct message. In these cases, it’s better to keep it simple so the reader will pay attention to what you are saying rather than how you are saying it. Therefore, editing to weed out the frills is an important part of conveying your message in the most effective way. Eliminate errors and readers won't miss the message due to poor writing.

4. In addition to obscuring the message, errors in your writing may reduce your credibility. We all want to be taken seriously in our business dealings. Your client/audience will take you seriously if you show your expertise through your writing. If your writing is filled with errors, it may not matter what you are trying to say, your readers may conclude that you will make errors in other areas as well.

5. In addition to reducing credibility, errors can change the meaning of your writing. If you rush through the editing process, you might find that your writing is misunderstood. If you get into the habit of editing, you will also notice that you begin to write more carefully.

Most writers have difficulty catching their own errors. Because writers are so close to their writing, they think the words rather than read the words. Consequently, it’s easy to miss errors. It’s always a good idea to hire an editor or to at least have someone you trust read your writing before you present it to the world.

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