Several of my coaching clients are writers and speakers who surprisingly make similar mistakes in their writing. Here are six suggestions I find myself repeating, which you may find helpful.
1. Write and let it sit for awhile.
Your writing should be allowed to age, like great relationships. While you may not always have the luxury of time, plan ahead when possible. Work on other projects and come back to what you’ve written a couple of weeks later. You’ll be stunned at what you find that you did not notice earlier.
2. Hire a professional editor.
Even after coming back to your writing after a few weeks, you’ll miss some things that an editor will quickly notice. Whether they make your project more concise or catch a fatal flaw, editing is worth the financial investment. A professional writer needs the help of a professional editor.
3. Realize spell-checker does not find all the mistakes.
One editor told me, “I’m always amazed at how many people think the spell-checker will find all the mistakes. It’s a good start, but it can miss some key errors.” Be sure to use the spell-checker, but do not expect it to catch every mistake you’ve made.
4. Read in order to write.
As Stephen King wrote, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Reading can stimulate your imagination. It can remind you how writers inspire, entertain or offer an escape from the harsh realities of life. As you read what others wrote you learn what works and what doesn’t work. Even better you might find the perfect word that’s has been eluding you for days.
5. Create a writing routine.
When is the best time for you to write? Once you determine whether you are a morning or evening person, carve out an hour or two during that productive time to write. Even if you only stare at the computer screen, stay in your chair, and don’t allow yourself to get distracted. John Maxwell said about making space in his schedule to write, “I need to be inaccessible to be effective.”
6. Write, rewrite and rewrite.
The number of rewrites you do is not a reflection on your skill as a writer. Rarely is the first draft the last one. Often the ninth or tenth draft isn’t the last one. Gather critiques from the truth tellers in your life and constantly work on tightening and polishing what you’ve written.
About Georgia Shaffer
Georgia is an author, Christian life coach, and licensed Psychologist in Pennsylvania. Her books include Avoiding the 12 Relationship Mistakes Women Make; Taking Out Your Emotional Trash; and A Gift of Mourning Glories: Restoring Your Life after Loss. For more information on Georgia or on her coaching of authors and speakers, visit www.GeorgiaShaffer.com