The essential guide for anyone who has to edit their own business writing.
“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” – Stephen King, author.
Writing and editing are not separate processes. To some degree, good writing IS good editing. But you can’t write and edit at the same time, and you need to do both to produce good writing.
As William Zinsser, American writer, editor and critic, argues: “the essence of writing is rewriting. Very few writers say on their first try exactly what they want to say… A piece of writing must be viewed as a constantly evolving organism… If the process is sound, the product will take care of itself.”
Increasingly, writing is part of what most people do for a living. But unless you’re a novelist or journalist you’re unlikely to have the benefit of a professional editor, so here are three tips for editing your own writing. Continue reading “3 tips for editing your own writing” »
Is it really necessary to know grammar if you want to write well? Or are other things – such as structure – more important?
“It is necessary to know grammar, and it is better to write grammatically than not, but it is well to remember that grammar is common speech formulated. Usage is the only test. I prefer a phrase that is easy and unaffected to a phrase that is grammatical.” – William Somerset Maugham, The Summing Up, (1938)
For some years I worked as an editor, commissioning articles for websites. One thing people would often say to me when they felt unsure of the work they were submitting was: “Oh my grammar is terrible, you’ll need to check it”.
They were right in one sense. There was usually something wrong with what they’d written. But it was rare, if ever, that their grammar alone was letting them down.
In most cases it was the structure. What they were saying didn’t read well because they hadn’t given enough thought to what they were writing about. This meant that they hadn’t planned their writing properly, and that lack of planning showed. Continue reading “It ain’t your grammar: Why structure matters more” »