It’s easy to urge each other to crank out ideas and imagery.Countless articles and posts urge us to dive in and heat up that pen or keyboard.But what about those next steps, where the real work kicks in?Copyblogger editor-in-chief Stefanie Flaxman’s Traffic Light Revision Technique weaves much-needed, but often elusive, objectivity into her approach to revision/editing.
Let’s boil it down:
Read over your material in a word processing document. [‘Document 1’] Color-code your sentences–green for ‘okay with me’, yellow for ‘needs some work’, red for ‘needs complete overhaul’. [Note: Use your own file-naming strategies.]
Save ‘Document 1’, without any further tinkering.
Create a copy of ‘Document 1’ [‘File’, ‘Save as…’], complete with the colored highlights. Name it ‘Document 2’.
Edit Document 2, recoloring your sentences green when satisfied with the work they’re doing.
Proofread your work [aloud is always a good idea] with the following question as your beacon:
Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing Thanks to Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings for this excellent page that includes Miller’s ‘daily program’. My favorites: Work on one thing at a time until finished. Don’t be nervous. Read more…
Don’t ever write anything you don’t like yourself and if you do like it, don’t take anyone else’s advice about changing it. They just don’t know. RAYMOND CHANDLER *** Write for fifteen minutes every day. Read more…