Whenever you write something, it’s always a good idea to wait a while before editing – later the same day or the next day. You’ll have a fresh perspective and it’ll be easier to pick out what can be improved upon.
Here are a few things to watch out for when you’re editing:
Brevity: Cut out every word that adds nothing to the meaning or flow. Each word should be working for you! Read Slice Words to Save Money for examples.
Clarity: Use specific adjectives instead of vague ones to increase understanding and interest. Instead of “We received numerous applications to volunteer at the conference,” say “We received 33 applications…”
Paragraph length: Each paragraph should deal with only one topic or idea. Short is always better.
Tone and style: Don’t write like a business; write like a human being and use your normal conversational style. Try the “Hi Mom” test.
Variety: Avoid starting each sentence or paragraph with similar words or phrases… especially “I” or “we”.
Purpose: Few people will take the time to wade through paragraphs to understand why you wrote this particular piece. Express the value to your reader very early on.
Remember, editing is not the same as proofing.
The fastest way to become a better writer is to become a better editor.