Tuesday, September 04, 2007

weekly writing coach: ask the editor

Want a shortcut to success? Get direct with your editor--be that your boss, a colleague or some other gatekeeper--and ask for feedback. Don't cringe: The person who spends as much time as you do focused on your writing has insights, ideas, wishes for your written product. Now's the time to find out. Ask your editor these constructive questions:
- what's the edit you most want to stop making on my work? Uncomfortable to ask, but the answer tells you mistakes you're repeating. Eliminate them, and you'll reduce the editing stress immediately.

- are there patterns you see in my work? do they need changing? Just as we favor turns of phrase in our conversations, so too do writers fall into habitual openings, constructions, verb usage. Find out what your editor sees. If the pattern's holding you back, focus on finding options for change.

- what's a writing challenge we face as a group? can I help fill that gap? Find out whether your team lacks a specific writing skill -- speeches, op-eds, very short items, interviews -- then go about learning it. You'll increase your utility and expand your range.

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