5 Filters for Editing that will Improve Your Writing Right Now
THE RULES: Only apply ONE filter for editing at a time. Do NOT try to do them all at once.
If you can, enlist the help of trusted friends. Give them one thing to look for. For example, "Can you look for clichés?"
Always give yourself 24 hrs between writing. . . and editing. So your brain has a chance to forget and can stop filling in the blanks with what you're trying to say long enough for you to actually see the blanks.
Filter #1: Intangible Concepts
Those generalizations and short-cut words we all love to use to try to cram big ideas into as short a space as possible. Ex. Sustainability or Optimization. The problem is that they rarely inspire the kind of emotional connection that gets people excited to buy. The solution is to use simple, concrete words and images. Ask yourself, what does that look like for my clients?
Filter #2: No Rhythm. . . No Readability
If your rhythm is off so is your readability. It's the written equivalent of speaking in a deadpan, monotone voice. People get bored. And they stop reading. The solution is varying your sentence length. You can check your rhythm by reading your writing aloud. For fun, last week I demonstrated rhythm by doing a spoken word sales page on my social media. Check it out here.
Filter #3: See It For The First Time
We are all experts at what we do, we have unique knowledge, skills and experience that allow us to arrive at "the answer" that our client is still seeking. You can't "unknow" what you know. But you can empathize with your client. You can imagine what it's like to see it for the first time. All the questions you might have. All the fears of the unknown. And you can have conversations with potential clients and LISTEN. Their words are your biggest inspiration.
Filter #4: Fresh Eyes
There's always a benefit to getting trusted opinions from your fellow entrepreneurs before you promote your work to the world. They don't have to be in your industry. It's often better if they're not. If they can ask questions and approach your writing from the point of view of someone who isn't "in the know". They can help you see it for the first time. Catch your clichés. Overcome your insecurities. Remind you of your value (and that they'd expect to pay more for what you're offering).
This is why is VITAL to surround yourself with a community you can trust. Share your writing and offers and pages with before they're really ready.
It's also why I'm running Deeper Than Words live and keeping it intimate. It's challenging to be vulnerable. To allow yourself to be truly seen. But creative collaboration can only make your writing better when it comes from a loving space.
Filter #5: Don't Bury The Lede
The lede is a journalistic term that describes the most important part of the story. Whatever you're writing, the most important part needs to go above the "fold" (aka before anyone has to scroll). Sometimes, we bury the lede by trying to hook our readers in with an interesting story. It's an understandable instinct but not one that should ever come at the expense of putting the most important information so far down they have to scroll for it. Instead, what we should REALLY be doing, is trying to find an approach that makes the most important part ALSO the most interesting.
Every writer knows that the first draft is sh*t. Which is why editing is where the real work is done. In Deeper Than Words, we explore all these filters for editing in greater depth. And we're doing it LIVE in a creative, collaborative space with entrepreneurs just like you. There are only a few days left to join us. Class starts June 1st. Limited spaces available. All the details are here.