Self-Edit and Forget It!

This is a friendly reminder to start at the beginning of the Business Writing series by clicking here.

Welcome back! Are you ready for this? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? (Thank you, Queen.) I’m going to miss our one-way conversations, all our inside jokes, etc., etc.

You’ve followed the steps, you’ve written out your document, now what? Now it’s time to edit. We’re going to bring this full circle. The first step in self-editing is the same as your first step in writing: Purpose! (Gasp! It’s everywhere!)

Ask yourself:

·       Is the purpose of my document obvious?

·       Does the reader/user have enough information/detail to understand my point?

Did you answer Yes to those questions? Then let’s move on! Confirm the flow in your document makes sense. Introduction, points to support, and closing. Make sure each word is needed and each sentence placed strategically to accomplish your purpose. Nobody likes to follow a recipe that is out of order.

Now that everything’s in its proper place, how does it look? Are visuals holding steadfast or floating about willy-nilly? You can’t have that! Is there enough white space to keep the reader/user focused on your purpose? Did you take advantage of simple formatting tools like bold, italics, and underline?

Think about your audience. Really zoom in on who will be reading or using your document. Reread what you have. Did you use verbiage the reader/user will understand? Did you keep out the flowery prose and stick to simple sentences? Were any acronyms defined? Did you keep an active voice?

Once all the above is in order, proofread! Find those errors, typos, and grammar no-nos, and remove junk words. *Does a quick Ctrl+F to locate “just” and removes seven*

Now it’s ready! Or is it? When you think what you’ve created is perfect, send it to Coles and Lopez to make it so!

This concludes the business writing series. Go out there and write, edit, repeat. As always, happy writing!

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Desirae Roosa is a technical writer by day and an aspiring author by night with an unhealthy addiction to the BBC. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.