It is true that good writing stands up to review, and poor writing can usually be shaped up with a few edits. Here are the things I look for when editing:
- Continuity of flow: subject / verb agreement; proper punctuation; proper spelling; varied sentence structure.
- Ease of reading for the web: subject headings; bullet points; pithy expression; humor.
- Continuity of quality: each page of your website should have similar themes, valuable information, and clear expression.
- Value and relevance: each page of your website should add value to the customer, and help them meet their needs.
Proofreading is the last phase of any written project. I put the final polish on the writing. I correct:
- Typographical errors.
- Misspellings, and misuse of modifiers.
- Mistakes in grammar and punctuation.
Editing and Proofreading are valuable aspects of the writing process. It is true that good writing stands up to review, and poor writing can usually be shaped up with a few edits.
Anne Lamott really nailed it with the idea of “shitty first drafts.”
Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts.
Sometimes, other people’s mistakes are sort of funny.
From Strunk’s original Elements of Style:
Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.