6 Steps to Fewer (Unnecessary!) Rewrite Requests From Your Editors

6 Steps to Fewer (Unnecessary!) Rewrite Requests From Your Editors

You’ve written the last sentence of a blog post that showcases both your intelligence and wit. You send it off to your editor and Boom!, a request for edits lands in your inbox less than 24 hours later.

Sure, editing is part of the writing process (and personally, I love editors who polish my writing to make it more concise and engaging) but when you get these requests day after day, it’s disheartening.

And, let’s be honest, editing is time consuming. As a freelancer, you’re most likely paid by the project and multiple edits zap your productivity.

Over the past seven years, I’ve figured out a few ways to make those emails less of a regular occurrence. After all, you don’t need to waste your time working on corrections that could have been eliminated in the first place.

6 Steps to Fewer (Unnecessary!) Rewrite Requests From Your Editors

Since I’m one of those writers who can’t get started by looking at a blank screen, I create templates for each of my clients. I include a few tips about word count, voice and audience to keep me focused. At the bottom of the page, I also include a small checklist to complete before pressing “Send”.

  1. Use a grammar and spellcheck. Time is money and it’s easy to skip this step when you’re in a hurry. If you’re composing in Word, both grammar and spelling can be reviewed with one click.
  2. Review project guidelines. A quick skim of the project parameters can remind you of uncommon requests. For example, I have multiple clients who request AP Style writing, and use of the Oxford comma. (Crazy talk. I know!)
  3. Let it sit. Even if you think it’s your best writing to date, save and close the document. Go do something else, then come back for one last read through with fresh eyes. It’s easy to overlook simple mistakes when you’ve been staring at the same text for an hour or more.
  4. Read the article aloud. Does it flow? Are the transitions smooth? Are the sentences too long and clunky? Does the proper voice (authoritative, conversational, friendly, professional) come through? Make necessary adjustments as you go.
  5. Check for extras. Most assignments require more than writing. Did you include hyperlinks to your sources? Did you attach photos or graphics? Did you include a Tweet or other social media requests from the client? What about a bio or call-to-action that directs readers to another part of the client’s website?
  6. Ask for help. If you’re struggling to finish an assignment and feel lost or confused, reach out. It’s better to ask for clarification and additional instructions before the article is due than to turn it in with a note about how you didn’t understand what the client wanted. You will most definitely receive a request for edits!

There’s really no need to get a message from an editor reminding you of the word count or that you should have included exactly three sources. Those basics were presented at the start of the project!

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