So what am I supposed to check?

You’ve finished writing, you understand how to edit your work…
but just what do you need to check?

Now while it’s easy to think you can do a complete edit in one pass, believe me, concentrating on more than one element at a time is hard going.

Three elements for you to consider: content, writing mechanics, and visuals.

Content

  • Does it flow logically?
  • Is all the information relevant to your message? … and your readers?
  • Are there any trivial or tedious details?
  • Have you included everything that needs to be there?
  • Have you included anything that doesn’t need to be there?
  • Do your pictures, graphs, tables, etc need captions?
  • Are the table of contents, table of figures, referencing complete and updated?

Writing mechanics

  • spelling, grammar, punctuation
  • phrases or sentences that sound awkward
  • repetition of words in close proximity – e.g. investigate, investigation; owns his own business
  • cliches and stereotypes – best to avoid.
  • saying the same thing twice – e.g. combine together, 5 pm in the afternoon, new innovations, free gift, added bonus
  • waffle – unnecessary words that don’t contribute to the clarity of the writing or the argument

Visuals

  • How does the text sit on the page?
  • Is the document broken up into reader-friendly chunks?
  • Have you used techniques like bold or colour to highlight key words or concepts?
  • Could any of the information be presented as a table, graphic, image, footnote?
  • Are non-text elements appropriately placed within the text?
  • Is there sufficient space between text and graphics?
  • Is there enough white space? Does the page look crowded?

 

Proofreading symbols
Edit… proofread… review

Yes, editing takes time… but it is definitely worth it.

Your final questions:

How easy will it be for my readers to understand what I’ve written?
How easy will it be for my readers to respond to my message?

 

 

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