Press ‘Pause’

Every piece of writing benefits from a fresh set of eyes. When we write something, we know what we are trying to say. It’s all too easy to convince ourselves that we’ve said it clearly. A great way to test that notion is to put our masterpiece in front of someone who hasn’t seen it before. They’re much more likely to spot a typo, a missing word, a garbled sentence, or a muddle argument.

If you work in a place where such a person is handy, great. If not, you’ll have to be your own fresh eyes. The easiest way to do that is to put your masterpiece away for as long as possible. In these days of instant communication, that’s not always easy. But if you can, at least take a lunch break or handle some other task that puts your brain in an entirely different place. If you can get away from your words all weekend, even better. The longer the piece is, the longer you want to keep it out of your sight.

When you look at you words again after a long enough break, you’ll be able to see its strengths and weaknesses more clearly. Even if you did a pretty good job the first time, you’ll likely think of ways to make your writing even better.

This post is going up late on Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. This is a perfect time to run off and do something else for a few days. I understand there may be a football game on television, and some sales at a few stores. Come Monday morning, you’ll have fresh eyes and can improve what you wrote.



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