Are you going to hit publish already or do you want to turn this into a masterpiece? Your pièce de résistance?
Follow these steps to review your draft.
Read your text with a focus on your content. Does everything make sense? Follow a system like CUBA or CRIBS. This means you’ll highlight (and change) everything that is:
CUBA: Confusing, Unbelievable, Boring, Awkward
CRIBS: Confusing, Repeated, Interesting, Boring, Surprising
Add visual language, examples, stats and images to make your point. Go from abstract to clear and trustworthy.
Read again. Line by line. Which words and phrases can you delete without changing the meaning? How can you say the same thing in fewer words to improve clarity?
Use these rules to review your sentences:
- Replace long words with shorter ones.
- Write actively.
- Follow the rule of one. One thought per sentence. One argument per paragraph. One idea per text.
- Keep it nice and short. More full stops; fewer commas. More whitespace; fewer long paragraphs.
- Cut the words that don’t add value.
These are several words to avoid:
- Adverbs. Express what you mean with a stronger verb instead. Be critical about your use of “actually”, “really” and “basically”. Avoid “very”. There are better alternatives.
- Opinions: Words like “personally”, “to me”, “in my opinion” and “honestly” are superfluous. It’s obvious that it’s your opinion when you’re writing. And I would hope for you to always be honest.
- Some words and expressions are wordy. “To” is mostly the same as “in order to”. “That” can be deleted in many sentences.
- “As a matter of fact”, “needless to say”, “and again”, “In conclusion” and “in other words” lead to repetitions. Not only should you delete these words, but also what follows.
Read out loud
Now you’re focusing on flow. Does everything sound right? Does one line lead you to the next? Are there any abrupt topic changes?
Add transition words or rephrase your paragraph.
Worst case, add a subtitle between two paragraphs if it doesn’t flow.
Spelling, grammar & style review
By now, there should be no more bumps in the road.
Give it a last read to get the punctuation right and clear your text of those embarrassing spelling mistakes.