We never tire of good writing advice, and Anna Goldsmith of The Hired Pens recommends an interesting editing process that begins with taking a break. “We all know that when we’re too close to things, we don’t see them clearly,” she says. So after writing your first draft, go for a walk, drink a cup of coffee or run an errand—anything that will put some mental distance between you and your copy. Then follow these four steps:

Pretend you are not you. Get into the mind of your audience by reading the draft from their perspective. Does it make sense? Does it hold your interest? Does it include the information you need to take action?

Cut, cut and cut some more. If a sentence is more than 25 words, eliminate unneeded words or break it into two shorter sentences. Replace long words and awkward phrases with more simple variants. “Why say ascertain the location of when you can just say find?” asks Goldsmith.

Channel your inner English teacher. You may use contractions and an informal tone if it’s appropriate to your copy. But banish the dreaded passive voice, all grammatical errors and any incorrect formatting.

Revise, print it out and read aloud. Your ear will probably catch anything your eye missed.

The Po!nt: “In a perfect world, you’d never have to edit your own work, but well, you know the drill,” says Goldsmith. “The world’s not perfect, life’s not fair, yada yada.” Investing a little time upfront can save you the hassle of explaining an embarrassing typo to your boss—or yourself.

Source: An article submitted by The Hired Pens to MarketingProfs.

Cheers, Skip