Your first draft is never your best
If you write documents, you’ll know that your first drafts are never the best versions. Let’s face it, they can be long, repetitive, muddled, badly organised, full of mistakes and untidy. If your documents are poorly written it’s hard for readers to hear what you want to tell them. They may not understand what they need to do with the information you’re giving them. It takes people longer to read poor-quality writing; if they give up your effort may be wasted.
Your documents will need editing
All writing needs to be edited. The best writers spend more time editing their work than they do planning or writing it. Editing focuses on making documents easier and quicker to read. It does this not only by correcting errors, but also by making writing clear, purposeful, well structured and professionally presented.
You have four editing options to choose from
- edit your own work
- ask a colleague or peer to edit your work
- use your organisation’s editor, if it has one
- hire a professional editor.
Your best option depends on you, your organisation and your document
Deciding on your best option depends on:
- how skilled and confident you are to write a good-quality document
- how important the document is to your organisation
- how much you are willing to invest in having a high-quality document
- how much time you or others have to edit the document.
You will save time and get a better product by working with a professional editor
Hiring an editor is an extra outlay but does offer you many benefits. A professional editor will:
- detect problems in your writing that you can’t see yourself
- focus your writing on what it’s trying to achieve
- show you a more logical way to present your ideas
- identify flaws in your arguments
- ensure your document makes sense and your messages are clear
- give you a shorter, consistent, formatted document
- save you from making embarrassing mistakes
- allow you to concentrate on what you do best.
And, in case you’re wondering, they will also check your grammar, spelling and punctuation!
You won’t always need a professional editor. But if cost is your main barrier to having the quality of documents you need, build it into your annual or project budget from the outset.
If you decide to work with a professional editor, contact me to talk about how I can help you get the most from your documents.