We get a lot of inquiries and questions about the writing and editing process from clients and colleagues. Which works GREAT for the people asking the questions, not so much for the rest of you who could probably use the answers. Occasionally, we’ll be posting our responses here in Ask Us Anything. It’s your chance to pick our minds – for free!
One of our first and favorite clients is Taylor Pearson, best-selling author of the book The End of Jobs and his own site, TaylorPearson.me. Taylor writes brilliant essays (ok, we’re biased) and they take some serious thought and time on his part.
So he asked us early on: “How do I know when a draft is ready to be sent to the editor?”
My response was simple:
The explanation took a little longer.
In other words, send it when you can’t think of any other words.
You’re officially at the point where you’ve thought through everything, and now you are driving yourself crazy and down rabbit holes.
This doesn’t mean you should be in your 24th “revision” or review. As a rule of thumb, for pieces under 3500 words, I’d say 2-3 review sessions is good. For pieces over 6000 words, you probably want a good 3-5.
After that, it might be time to call in a professional [word] fixer.
But once you’ve thought yourself stupid, and have nothing else to add to the draft, that’s when it is time to start seeking outside input on it.
Not to say I don’t talk stuff out with others before writing. That’s how I get most of my ideas and really dig in on them before I jump into the very messy and ugly first draft.
Once you get into the editing process, it should be about refining your message and narrative.
Not trying to create it.
Got questions? We have answers. Send us an email and ask away. We may just feature your question in a future post!
Elisa Doucette is a writer and editor who works with professional writers, entrepreneurs, and brands that want to make their own words even better. She is the Founder of Craft Your Content, and oversees Client Strategy and Writing Coaching. Her own writing has been featured in places like Forbes, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Yahoo! Small Business, and The Huffington Post, among others. She also hosts the Writers' Rough Drafts podcast here on CYC. When she isn't writing, editing, or reading words, she can usually be found at a local pub quiz, deep in a sun salutation, or binging TV shows for concept ideas and laughs.