We’ve all heard stories of people who have been hired in their dream job, who show up the first day eager to blaze a trail in their careers and in some correspondence spell their boss’s or a higher-up executive’s name wrong, only to find themselves escorted off premises their belongings still in the box.
It doesn’t just happen in the movies.
Checking and double checking your work, copy editing, proofreading and going through your communications for CP Style may seem tedious, but they are the keys to professionalism and putting your best foot forward.
As an author, I’m acutely aware of having my name — my reputation — attached to a piece of writing. The same holds true in the corporate world. Whether you’re writing a formal report, communications plan, letter or memo, producing your best writing free of typos and grammatical errors is essential. It’s not just your name attached to a particular piece of work, but those of your superiors and the organization itself.
Some tips to keep in mind before hitting send or crossing a writing task off your to-do list:
- Always produce your best work. It’s essential to start with a solid foundation. Before you start editing, make sure you’ve done as many revisions as necessary to ensure you’ve produced your best work right from the start.
- Keep a copy of your dictionary and CP Stylebook handy. Whether you use hardcopies or pay for a subscription online, keeping your reference material handy will allow you to edit your work on the fly.
- Read it, read it again, read it out loud. Always reread your work before anyone else has a chance to find a mistake. Be proactive not reactive.
- Let it simmer. Walk away from your desk. Visit the water cooler. Giving your mind something else to focus on and then coming back to a piece of writing can open up a fresh perspective. Even a little distance can help you spot something you may have missed on the first read through.
- Software helpers. There are plenty of programs out there, like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor, to help you find errors you might have missed. But a note of caution: these are just helpful sidekicks. You need to do the heavy lifting first. They are not perfect and can overlook mistakes. If in doubt, go back to tips one and two.
In public relations, your reputation and your career depend on your ability to produce effective, efficient communications. Start off on the right foot. Ensure your work is free of errors and land your dream job.
Just finishing the first round of copy edits for Avelynn2!
So… close. 😉
Here’s a sneak peek at a post I wrote for Relentless Writers! Check it out to read the full article. xoxo
Two of my favourite words. To a writer, they are the culmination of days, months, or years of blood, sweat, and tears. But they are misleading. We write them, sit back, and revel in our cleverness, in our determination, our grit, our savvy, our persistence, and our sheer magnificent brilliance. It could grace the page of a blog post, social media blast, short story, novella, screenplay, or novel. Writing THE END feels incredible, but it’s just another beginning. THE END is the start of EDITING.
I recently attended Bookapalooza, which is a really cool venue in my hometown where local authors get together and sell their wares. There were speakers and panels and celebrity guest authors. I was honoured to sit on a panel with fellow romance authors Molly O’Keefe and Mary Sullivan. These ladies are veterans. They’ve written a lot of books. They’ve been doing this a long time. Avelynn is my debut historical romance. I was the newb in the room, but they welcomed me with open arms. I was humbled and thrilled to sit at the table beside them. *girlie fan crush moment over* Back to my point: one of the audience members asked the panel a question, “What do you like better, writing or editing?”
Click here for the remainder of this fabulous article. 😀
If I had to go back to the beginning of my career and give myself one piece of advice, it would be….
I can’t narrow it down to just one thing, as there are two really important messages I would love to press upon my newbie self!
The first is the importance of hiring a good editor. My first book was co-authored and self-published, and we thought that appealing to wonderful, well-intentioned friends would be a great, cost-effective way of catching our errors. We were wrong. Of course, they found many, but our first edition went to print with an embarrassing amount of typos and grammar glitches. I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring a good editor. Even when I sought traditional publishing with my second book, I hired editors to do substantive and copy edits. It was money well spent and gave my manuscript a professional, polished feel. Without that effort, I would never have found my agent!
The second piece of advice I would give myself is to never, ever, think a first draft, or a second draft, or even a third draft is the final draft ready for submission. I get it. I’m impatient. We’ve spent months, years, or even decades working on this project, and once we finally reach ‘the end,’ we just want to shout our book baby to the mountain tops and send it out in to the world. But our pour babies can’t even roll over yet, never mind crawl or walk! I’m the first one to admit, I need immediate gratification, but where publishing is concerned, this is one area where we have to slow down, dig in, and sharpen and hone that manuscript until it is a shimmering piece of literary beauty. No rushing this part. No thinking, maybe mine is good enough. Let it sit in a drawer. Hide it under your bed. Let it stew and settle for a few weeks to a month, then pour through it again. You’ll be surprised what you find and grateful you didn’t send it out before it was ready!