When I write something new, I always press the “publish” button too soon. It doesn’t matter what it is I’m writing. It could be a new blog post, a comment or maybe even an email. Here’s a doozy of an example:
I received a positive response from an editor I had queried for an article idea. I was SO excited. Of course I immediately responded. A little later I had a look at the email reply I had sent. In part I wrote, “I would be very interesting in doing this article.” My heart sank. Nothing like leaving a good first impression. All of a sudden I was working in a content mill in India, still brushing up on my english. To this day I cringe a little when I think about that incident.
The only thing that gives me any comfort is that I am not special or unique. I’m sure that most every writer – or non-writers for that matter – have done the same thing.
There is this magic transition that happens when what you’ve written goes from the writing interface program to “live” status. I will read and re-read every word of a post, decide it’s good to go and publish away. I immediately go to the site and have a look (As a writer, I LOVE to see my stuff in print) and I will almost always find a typo or two. I have to wonder if there maybe isn’t a typo generator plug-in I inadvertently installed to my theme…
Here are a few of the things I’ve learned to save myself some headache and heartache:
- Slow the heck down. It’s easy to think that cyberspace is waiting with bait-like-breath for your next brilliant offering, but really, it’s not. Will it make a difference if you hit the submit button now or ten minutes from now? Of course not. Take a deep breath and relax.
- Read your words aloud. Try it! It’s a great way to discover if your grammar makes sense. It also forces you to look at every word. When you are reading to yourself something that you wrote, your mind tends to skim over words.
- Print it out. Get it off the computer screen and on to paper. Any typos will Ka-Pow you right away.
- Put it away for a day. When you come back I guarantee it will look fresh and you may have a different perspective completely.
- Whatever it is you wrote, you didn’t get it perfect in the first draft. Go kill your darlings and cut 10% of your word count. Get rid of extra words or sentences that detract from your message.
- Get a second opinion. This is crucial if you are submitting to an editor or a client. Get a proofing buddy to help you. Print out your work and have your spouse or roomie proof your work.
Don’t be afraid of revising and re-writing. It puts polish on your work and is a crucial element of being a professional writer.