How to Catch the Most Mistakes When You Edit
Do you like the idea of baseball in the summertime, but you don’t have the patience for all nine innings?
You’re not alone.
As we kick off the 2015 season, Major League Baseball execs will institute several new rules to speed up the game and make fans happy. For instance:
– hitters must keep one foot in the batter’s box at all times so they can’t step out after each pitch and waste time
– you’ll now see a timer on the scoreboard that measures breaks between innings; 2 minutes, 25 seconds for locally televised games and 2 minutes, 45 seconds for nationally televised games
– managers can ask for instant replay from the dugout rather than approach the umpire on the field
So if it feels like baseball moves a bit faster this season, now you’ll understand why.
Yes, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has edited his product (baseball) to pick up the pace, and it’s important we do the same. I have written several columns about words and phrases that slow down our work:
– 4 Sneaky Words That Diminish Everything You Write
– How to Improve Everything You Write in Under Three Minutes
– The One Question Every Great Communicator Asks
This time I’ll step back and explain how I edit, in general. What’s the best way to delete all the extra words and clean up grammatical errors?
The key is to peel ourselves from the screen (phone, tablet, laptop or desktop). We stare at a document or email for so long we lose the ability to catch mistakes. We need a fresh perspective, and the best method is to give our eyes a rest.
My “How to Edit” instructions are nice and neat. If you’d like, print out the steps and stick them on your desk.
If you commit to being a better editor, I promise everything you write will improve.
How do you edit?
Featured photo: Kafu Chau (Flickr)
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