How to avoid the ‘editing rabbit hole’ when you write for your biz

Last week in the Entrepreneurs’ Writing Lounge we talked about how the pursuit of perfection can kill your writing (not to mention your time).

The fact is, writing can be particularity difficult for perfectionists because there’s no one right answer you’re working towards (this ain’t math, after all).

This makes it all too easy to end up in a spiral of editing and re-working, which usually leads to confusion, a muddled message – and a frustrated entrepreneur.

If you’ve been there – or ARE there – this one’s for you. And I should point out that I’m right there with you – I’m a recovering perfectionist myself in many areas of my life. Writing used to be one of them – until I started implementing the technique I’m about to share with you.

This is a simple trick to help reset your systems and habits when it comes to writing for your biz, which will make the process easier, keep you out of the dreaded ‘editing rabbit hole’ and, in all likelihood, yield a better end result.

First: separate writing and editing. Write first (quickly, without overthinking, tinkering, or looking things up).

Then, edit slooooowly – and in two parts, as follows:

  1. The strategic edit. This is where you focus on big picture stuff. Is all the info there? Have you struck the right overall tone? Is everything in the right place? This is your chance to fill in blanks, move things around, add, and delete.
  2. The nit-picky edit. Once your strategic edit is complete, it’s time to zero in on words, punctuation and sentence structure. Take out unnecessary words, address any repetitive words, make sure there are more YOUs than Is/WEs in there, ensure you don’t have any (glaring) grammatical errors, etc. The key is not to let yourself go back to the strategic at this stage.

Pass through your doc a maximum of a couple of times at each stage – and then let that be it.

Bonus tip: I like to do my final review in print – because we read differently on paper than we do on screen, so I always notice things that I’d previously missed.

Give it a try – and let me know what you think!