Before Editing, Gain Some Perspective

Pull back to see more clearly...

Editing our own writing, whether it’s a book chapter, article or blog post, requires us to look at our own work with fresh eyes.

We need to leave the creative shoes of the writer behind and step into the critical, precise shoes of the editor. This is not an easy transition and often requires a great deal of practice for the so called “shoe to fit.”

Both of the photographs here are of the same beautiful bowl — the beautiful bowl of creation. In the first, zoomed-in view, it’s too close to appreciate any of the beauty. The second offers some much needed distance and perspective to take it all in.

And so it is with our writing and editing.

We write of what we know, what we’ve done, what we like writing about. Topics close to our hearts and events from the mental photo albums of our minds. We hope that the way we think of something can be conveyed onto paper as we write, but, do we ever really know? What happens as our stories travel from memory and brain wave to muscle to hand to pen or keyboard? We worry that something is lost and yet, we are too close to read it critically.

But we have a wonderful ability to change all that.

We can change our perspective.

Pull back to see more clearly...

Step back to see more clearly…

We can put distance between our writing and our reading so that we can edit our own work.

When we review our own writing with a plan to edit it, too, we remain the writer, nonetheless. We cannot fully step away from that role. And so, we need some strategies to put distance between writer and editor; to broaden perspective and step back from what we write so that we can edit it:

  1. Put time and space between writing and editing. Allow as much time as possible between when you write and when you go back to edit your work. Whenever possible, overnight is helpful but do what you can, even if it is only a few hours. Some recommend letting your finished book draft sit a full month before you pick it back up. The time away from the content helps you let go of what you intended enough so that you can see it with fresh eyes when editing. It’s even suggested that you edit in a different place than the one in which you wrote.
  2. Print it out. If you created your writing digitally, print out a hard copy. Whether or not you print, change the font in style or size to alter the view enough to get your brain to consider it as something new.
  3. Read it aloud. By reading out loud, you’re now using another sense to evaluate your writing. It is often by hearing that you pick up on a section that seems too awkward or a word that is used too often. It’s a great way to examine the flow of your piece and even to gauge its length. It allows you to check for conversational writing…the kind of writing that works best!
  4. Read it as if someone else. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and read it all the way through, as if you are that person that is not you reading material that you do not know. Take nothing for granted, like the meaning of a word or the meaning in the gaps between the words. If something is not straightforward, fix it! Replace jargon with clarity and add information when needed to explain things thoroughly and more clearly to an outsider. Then read it through again for another round!
  5. Ask someone else to read it. This can be someone in your family, young or old. It’s even better when it can be someone unfamiliar with the content. Ask them to be critical and comfortable sharing what they think.

When you’ve given yourself the gift of a new perspective, you give your writing a better chance of meeting someone else across the page. You connect with your readers as your words invite them to see things from your perspective!

How do you change your perspective when editing your writing? Please share in the comments.

Seven Best Practices of Editing Your Own Work

Create Great HeadlinesNothing kills credibility faster than mistakes in your book.

Before you submit your work to an editor, there are a number of strategies you can use to save time and money.

1. Walk Away From Your Work

Try and give yourself at least a week between writing and editing your manuscript. Something magical happens during this break; it allows you to detach from the work, giving you more clarity and greater perspective. Build this extra time in from the beginning if possible so that you can let it sit before you edit. You’ll be amazed at the objectivity you gain when you stop focusing so intently on the content.

2. Print Out Your Manuscript

Often it’s useful to take a look at your work in a published form (or as close to it as you can get). You may notice problems that didn’t stand out before.

[info]Sign up for Karen’s webinar with Social Buzz U -and learn the absolute “musts” for editing your own book.[/info]  Continue reading

Create a Valuable Free Offer that Turns Leads Into Clients

A valuable free offer is the first step in building a relationship with your audience – especially on your website. 

giftsIf you don’t have an offer on your website there is no point in driving traffic to it in the first place.  But your offer has to be good.  The days of people trading their email address for a newsletter are long gone.  To compete with all the marketing noise and stand out from the crowd, your offer needs to be really compelling.  Build trust by offering up a valuable free offer that your audience wants.  Here are 3 steps to creating a free offer that will have leads pouring in:

Figure out what the audience’s pain points are.

The easiest way to do this is by listening to your existing clients. Sometimes the reason they hired you in the first place is to treat a symptom, not the root cause of the problem. I found out that many of my clients wanted to improve their time management, even though they hired me to help with goal setting and business planning.  Because time management is such a huge topic, I was able to create a free offer around time management for entrepreneurs that visitors could request and download from my website.  I leveraged this idea for my speaking gigs and created a 30-minute CD that I give out in exchange for a business card or email.  Almost everyone takes the CD and I walk away with new leads.

Focus on your area of expertise.

What do you have the answers for? It doesn’t have to be for the exact thing you’re selling, it can be for something complimentary. My free offer used to be time management tools for entrepreneurs.  I wasn’t selling time management coaching exclusively but it was a very important piece of the success puzzle for my clients who are juggling multiple responsibilities. Time management is just one piece but it’s a critical piece that influences the other pieces.  Do make sure your offer fits into your overall strategy and that you can create upsells from it.  I sell a time management workbook and have a membership site that is focused on time management so it made sense.

Create a valuable give-away – don’t be afraid to provide content.

You are an expert and there is no way that you can possibly give everything away in one article or eBook or CD. You are creating a first impression. If you are generous with the free stuff then people will remember you as being someone with valuable info.  They will keep coming back for more and you’ve proven that you will provide great value if they hire you. Vice versa if you’re stingy. 

Remember, it takes at least 7 touches to convert a prospect to a client.  But they have to want to see your stuff, to open your emails, to hear what you have to say in order for those 7 touches to be effective.  So go ahead and give your best stuff away.  If you do this well, you’ll be on your way to building a list of pre-qualified prospects, some of whom will turn into paying clients.

Learn more with Liz in her FREE Social Buzz U Webinar on July 25, 2013!

Tips for Creating Magnetic Headlines

Extra! Extra! We can’t stress this enough!

Whether you’re writing a blog post, an article, a display ad, a landing page, or any marketing copy for that matter, the headline is one of the most important factors in marketing, and also the factor most business overlook.

Too many times, headlines are tacked on as an afterthought—something to stick on top after we’ve written the piece—when in fact, it should be the part we labor on the hardest, because it accomplishes the most important task… capturing your reader’s attention long enough to compel him to read further.  Continue reading

White Papers – Build the Bones First

In discussing with writers the problems they face in developing white papers, one thing stands out among many of them: where to start.

Once the topic is chosen, there is often a temptation to just get things going by “beginning with the beginning.” However, brainstorming headlines and working on the paper’s introductory page is something that should come later–sometimes much later—in the process.

Michelangelo didn’t form the model of his David by starting with the skin—he began by establishing bone structure and muscle mass. A compelling white paper is “sculpted” in much the same way, starting with the bones (the outline gleaned from the needs assessment interview) and fleshed out with muscle from subsequent interviews and research.  Continue reading