Jan 052018
 

In an early NoContest.CA post on editing, I described “the 9 C’s” I use when evaluating another writer’s work:

  1. completeness
  2. conciseness
  3. clarity
  4. convincingness
  5. currency
  6. correctness
  7. consistency
  8. congruency
  9. courtesy

I added:

Almost all writers need a second set of eyes to assess and improve the first four qualities in a document they compose, because they typically already believe they’ve been concise, complete, clear, and convincing enough. To assess and improve the rest often requires that second set of eyes, too.

My mentor Diane Middlebrook once told me, “You cannot edit yourself any more than you can tickle yourself, and for the same reasons.” I thought of Diane the other day when reading an excellent post by Hootsuite Content Editor Curtis Foreman called “12 Quick Editing Tips for Social Media Managers.” Tip #4: “Have Somebody Else Edit Your Work.”

Even if you’re a solo practitioner, there’s probably someone in your life with a decent sense of style and taste who wouldn’t mind glancing over your tweets before you release them into the wild. And if you’re at an agency or brand, you’ve likely got a team member (or an entire team) who will be more than happy to point out that you really should stop using commas to join independent clauses already.

You should read the whole post; it’s excellent. I have to take issue with that first sentence, though. I doubt even the most charming “solo practitioner” would be able to persuade another person to glance over his or her tweets prior to their publication. When we are outside of the workplace or academic setting, we almost always need to fly solo, using solid if less exacting methods of revision: reading the post or tweet aloud, double-checking for facts, or the always smart “sleeping on it” before publishing it.

– photo by Robert Basil

– installation view of Robert Therrien’s No title (folding table and chairs, beige) at Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY