Monday, June 19, 2006

The Blue Ferret 5-Minute Self-Editing Checklist

Like every writer, I sometimes get to the end and find I'm in a different place than where I intended. I use an editing checklist when that happens. So far it's never failed to put my copy back on track.

For Monday's BFC Blog Tip, I thought I'd share this checklist with everyone. For those "I don't have any time at all but this doesn't sound right AGH how do I fix it?!" moments. It only takes 5 minutes to use, and it'll find the knots you need to unravel.

1. What exactly are you trying to say? Read your copy over again. If you can't pull the same message out of the words on the page, it needs a rework.

2. Read the document aloud. If you were listening to this as a speech, would you lose focus and start thinking about dinner at some point? Fix that point.

3. Check your notes. (You did make notes, right?) Can you see where each major point is clearly addressed in the copy? If not, your customer won't either.

4. Use the Web. If it's Web copy, enter the keywords you selected for it into Google. Read one or two of the pages that come up. See how your copy compares. Is there something they mention that might boost yours?

5. When all else fails, ask another writer. Most copywriters I know don't mind taking a quick peek at a colleague's work, looking for a muddy spot. (I don't, at least.) The new perspective may tell you what you were too close to see. It happens.

That's all! 5 points, 5 minutes. Editing doesn't have to be a long, grueling process. Save yourself time and frustration with the Blue Ferret 5-Minute Self-Editing Checklist.



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