April 8, 2009

Essay Editing–or Editing Anything!

Some of you may have noticed nothing much had changed on the BetterEdit website for awhile. I purchased the website from Yaro in 2007 and everything was cruising along just fine so I didn’t “get on the stick” (I didn’t hurry up) and do all of the things I had envisioned for the business. That’s about to change, however, so watch out for our brand new website redesign coming soon!

Plus, I’ve always had a challenge with transitions! Part of the challenge in transitioning for me is to get the ideas I have in my head, out of my head and into the physical world: to manifest the thoughts.

Just like writing! We’ve got to get those thoughts–that essay, article, blog, website, manuscript, thesis, research paper, memo, email, marketing piece, or whatever (!) that we’ve been creating inside our heads–out of our heads and onto paper … or onto something! For me, it’s into an electronic document via a keyboard. (I love to type! One thing I used to begrudge when I was young was having to sit at a typewriter and practice: asdf ;lkj asdf ;lkj, over and over and over! Now, it’s one of the first things I recommend: learn how to type! You’ll be SOO glad you did!)

So get those thoughts down. Just get them down! Leave the order of your ideas and that it has to make sense until later.

Just get your thoughts down!

There are several ways to do this, but one simple method is to use a list or bullet format:

. Just write them down!
. Put them on something–paper, electronically
. Get your thawts out!
. Even if you cant spell or punctuate
. as long as u kno
. wat u r saying
. n u kan desyfer what yr thots were
. that’s all that matters at this stage!

It’s those first thoughts that are going to be the guts (the substance) of your essay, or your blog–or whatever your finished product is going to be–but you’ve got to get them down! Once you have your thoughts down, you can organize the ideas into logical order. Once you’ve captured what you want to say and you have them in the order you want, you can write complete sentences around those thoughts. Now you’ve got complete sentences, you can edit them!

Make sure you edit your work! Or, if it’s a brief piece, you can edit it as you go. Like me for this blog entry, for example. I’ve been back over it several times already and have edited it as I’ve gone along and I haven’t even finished it yet. I can edit as I go, but I, too, risk losing my train of thought. Even though I edit as I write, I NEVER send anything out without at least one last look (and maybe several last looks) at it. That’s the editor in me. In the end, I’ll have a well written piece. Many people comment one of my strengths is that I write well–but only after I’ve edited it a gazillion times! (A gazillion is so many you can’t even count–it’s a made-up word and has no real number equivalent.)

My point is, even those who write well don’t do it without editing it. You think your favorite author doesn’t edit their own work?!! Ha! And even then, they may ask their spouse or a friend to edit it again, or they may hire a professional editor before they send it to the publisher. And then the publisher assigns another editor to it!

There is a saying, Great books aren’t written, they’re re-written. Re-written books, then, are books that have been edited–many times! So for a great piece, you don’t have to re-write your document, but you should edit it!

So, to recap, have a COWE when you’re writing! (For the non-native speakers: there is an expression in the English language, “Don’t have a cow!” so I’m playing with that expression. Don’t ask me right now, however, what the expression means because I don’t have a clue! I promise I will find out and let you know because I love learning about languages. OK, English lesson over.) So, have a COWE! when writing:

1. Capture: Get your thoughts down–use few words and/or bullet points
2. Organize: Order them in a logical order/sequence
3. Write: Write full sentences around the bullet points/thoughts
4. Edit: Take the time to go over what you have written–twice if you can!

Good luck, and happy writing!

It’s an honor to serve you.



Filed under: copy writing,Editing — Tags: , — admin @ 8:18 AM

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