Editing Yourself

Learning to write polished, concise prose is a difficult, sometimes maddening process. Learning how to do it routinely, under deadline pressure, is exceedingly difficult. The authors of this book have been at it, professionally, for a collective 40 years, and are still learning.

There are, however, some simple techniques—tricks, you could say— that can help any aspiring writer become more effective. One of these tricks is more about mindset than mechanics: force yourself to switch roles, think like an editor, and critique your own writing. This can bring new discipline to the writing process.

For many writers, getting the first rough draft of a memo, report, or article onto the screen is the most laborious and painful part of ...

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