If you do any writing for your job or business, you need to read this. Editing is an important step in the writing process, and it’s more than checking for typos. A lot more because of what’s at stake.
Editing can prevent the awkward situations that result from typos, and it can prevent confusion from a poorly worded message. Here are four reasons why you need to edit or hire an editor to check your work.
Editing is a key step in maintaining your professionalism. A quick review doesn’t take long, and it saves potential embarrassment and heartache.
For example, if you’re sending a text for work, take an extra second to reread your message. Check your phone didn’t try to surprise you with autocorrect. Anyone who has used a smartphone long enough has likely experienced an unusual autocorrect suggestion.
When writing emails, check that you’ve spelled the recipient’s name correctly. You don’t like it when people get your name wrong, so treat others with that in mind!
The other party might be able to guess your meaning when you skip a word. Still, in a case like “I will finish by tomorrow” and “I will not finish by tomorrow,” you have a completely different meaning.
Editing your work can includes checking what you do. I once saw a section on a website that looked like internal notes to team members – and someone had accidentally hit “publish publically”.
It’s clear in your mind what you want to say. Asking a coworker or taking a break before rereading your own work can make a huge difference. You may find that your writing isn’t as straightforward as you thought it was.
Getting someone else to read your work can give you valuable insight. They may ask questions that make you realize you left out details or your meaning wasn’t clear. Or they may have suggestions about how to write something more concisely. Why take fifty words to say something that you can express in thirty?
When you read your own work aloud, you might realize that you are wordy. You might discover that you need more commas to break up chunks of text in a sentence. Or you might decide that you have a sentence that goes on forever and you need to add a period before you pass out from lack of oxygen.
Take the time to check over important details before publishing a report or sending an email. A simple typo could send your client to the wrong address, or invite a colleague to attend a meeting at the wrong time.
Numbers can be boring to check, but they are worth reviewing. For example, suppose you have completed several calculations. You’re typing up a table of numbers or copying a bunch of monetary totals as part of a project proposal. Double check your numbers. You don’t want your proposal to be saying that you can do the project for $1000 when your team quoted $10000 for the job!
Having someone edit or check over your work is the same as getting a fresh pair of eyes. You’ll see your work from a new perspective. Your coworker could provide you with suggestions on a more engaging way to word your email.
A colleague could provide you with ideas for another way to present your information. For example, taking a paragraph of statistics and presenting it as a graph or colourful infographic.
It is worth taking the time to double check your work. You could be saving yourself the embarrassment of a costly typo. You could gain insight into writing in a more appealing way to your audience. Be open to learning from mistakes and learning new ways to write.
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