You know you have to Revise and Edit your writing to make it great…
But how do you know when it’s done?
You use a checklist, of course!
Because then you get to make checkmarks on a list, and that is just about the most satisfying thing ever – at least since we all learned to cut our cupcakes in half and make icing sandwiches out of them.
You can print out my checklist and use it to guide you through the last two steps in the Writing Process today.
But first let me tell you about how the Write Traits help you to revise and edit your writing:
When I taught writing skills to kids in public and private schools here in Moncton, I used to work on the Writing Process and the Write Traits with all of my students. Both parts of writing instruction are super important, so I have to give you a little taste of the traits before I move on to talking about Education Marketing next month.
After all, I’ve spent a good four months harping on the Writing Process.
So! Write Traits, Polka Dots. Let’s do this.
There are six traits you should be aware of throughout the Writing Process that will improve the calibre of your writing in a big way:
- Ideas – Developing your ideas should begin long before you hit “Publish” on your blog post or sales page. I talked about ways to develop them in Prewriting. Make sure your idea is narrowly focused enough that you can go deep enough into it to
- Organization – This begins in Prewriting as well, but you should pay attention to it right up until the last moment of your final draft. Keep your ideas clearly organized in your plan, and then go back to check that plan when you revise to make sure you stayed true to it.
- Voice – This is all about showing your own excitement and interest in your topic in the way you communicate your ideas to your audience. You need to be yourself, and our audience needs to feel it.
- Word Choice – Use words that are concise, descriptive and interesting. Make sure that you understand your word choice and make each word works for its place in your final draft.
- Sentence Fluency – Sentences have specific shapes, lengths, styles and roles in writing. I still teach classes on how to build sentences in English and use them effectively in different contexts. I think the difference between good writing and amazing writings found in the ability to use these basic building blocks in interesting ways, to communicate your ideas.
- Conventions – Grammar, Baby! Punctuation and parts of speech work as a whole other interesting set of tools that can take your writing to the next level, when used intentionally. Spelling is important here too – to show the true meaning of the words you choose, and to show that you care enough to be thorough and careful.
When you finish your draft, and you’re ready to hit the Revise and Edit steps in your Writing Process, you should check in with these traits again.
I use a few specific Write Traits in the Revise and Edit steps, myself. It’s the last step in shining up your words and ideas to reach the potential you saw for them during the Prewriting Step.
We can sometimes drift away from that potential as we march through the Drafting of our ideas. That’s why Revising exists: to make sure we put it all out there as well as we first imagined, and then Editing allows us to shine off the last little blemishes, before we send our work out into the world.
Check out the August Writing Process Checklist – and make your writing shine like it should.
You’re doing great. Keep it up, Polka Dots! Your writing will improve drastically every time you run through these steps. I promise.
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I’ll see you here next week for the first in a new Series here on Keyboards and Kickstands about how to set up your online Home Base, ready to reach the people you want to reach, in a way that feels genuine and sincere to who you are.
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