When I started Noteworthy, I just sat down and wrote. All my life I’d been told what a great writer I am. I was convinced nothing could go wrong.
I read through it a few times, made sure there were no typos, and sent it out. But in the back of my mind, I knew it needed polishing.
I sent the first issue to my good friend, talented writer, and mentor The Head Butler (aka Jesse Kornbluth). As I tossed it down the mail chute, I was terrified. I knew what was going to happen. But I also knew I needed Jesse’s help if I wanted Noteworthy to offer real value, not waste the reader’s time, and be successful.
The email I got was painful. He tore it up, limb-for-limb, page-for-page.
I was prepared though, and this is part of why I adore Jesse—no holds barred comments. It was the best thing I could have done for my writing and my subscribers. I set my ego aside and did everything he told me to do.
Not everything I publish is perfect but it’s cleaner than it was. I edit words out instead of adding more in.
While I’d love to have a full-time, talented line editor (harder to find than a good husband), I don’t. Until then, I use Jesse’s advice and a few online tools to help my words stay crisp and concise.
If you own your own business or are part of a sales team (who isn’t?), you write copy. Emails, sales letters, ad copy, thank you notes…it’s all an extension of your branding.
To put your best foot forward:
1. Read your writing aloud. I had never done this and it makes a huge difference.
3. Have Siri write for you. Siri won’t get it perfect, but she’ll get it down. If you have a great idea and no paper, grab your iPhone (sorry Android users, I know nothing about them), and say “Siri take a note.” It’ll be saved in your Notes app.
4. Use the Oxford comma. It’s the right thing to do.
5. Read a book on how to write. Here’s one from the Head Butler: Do I Make Myself Clear? A Practical Guide to Writing Well in the Modern Age by Harold Evans, the famed newspaper editor.
6. Turn off all distractions. This one should be obvious. Shut everything down but your word processor. It’s impossible to write well and multitask. It’s impossible to multitask, period.
And a final guideline from a “How To Write” memo Jesse sent me
I hadn’t given much thought to the mechanics of writing. Clear sentences, active verbs, specific adjectives…I just wrote. And it showed.
I’ve since worked hard, and continue to work at, cleaning up my act. I hope you’ll find these tools useful in doing the same and putting your best foot forward.
Always behind you 1,000%-