Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Workshop: Being Your Own Best Editor

Here's one of the two half-day workshops I often recommend to companies and agencies hiring me for the first time. The other of the two is called "Creating Compelling Content."

"Be Your Own Best Editor"

Writers learn to clean, tighten and brighten their own copy and reduce the need for further editing. They develop the self-awareness needed to diagnose their own challenges and make their own choices about how to improve. 

The emphasis is on process. Participants find out why they sometimes write for an hour and still have nothing on the page, why proofreading is even harder than they realized, and ways to prevent those and other problems in the future.

Best to bring: early drafts of contributed articles, speaker abstracts, award submissions, media pitches, press releases, blog posts and case studies.

Part 1: Self-diagnosis – 2 hours, includes 10-minute break

Rewrites with feedback are part of the self-discovery process.

Assessment covers: 
construction (verb quality, sentence shape, etc.)
energy (news value, subtle tension, relevance) – See also CCC class
structure (skimmers v. listeners, use of best “real estate”) – See also CCC class

voice (tone, vocabulary, gatekeeper preferences) 

Part 2: Mechanics – 1 hour, includes 5-minute break

Find out the most common grammar and usage mistakes unknowingly committed by experienced business professionals, with emphasis on clearing up confusion.

Topics include: Commas are not pauses The two – Count ‘em! Only two! – rules of capitalization Semicolons: Don’t use them unless you have a license issued by Lauren ;-) Home v. hone, flesh v. flush, pique v. peak, which v. that, etc. British v. American English

Part 3: Process – 1 hour, includes 5-minute break

Learn to be both messy and tidy, as needed, in the right places at the right times. For best results, writers and editors need a keen awareness of “who’s driving” during specific phases of the process – their inner creator or their inner censor.

Topics include:

Why humans are bad proofreaders and what to do about it 
When to apply voice preferences 
Tightening tips 
How to bust through writer’s block 
What steps to emphasize when the deadline is near