Jordan Ogren

June 17, 2021

Suck at writing? I have good news.

Leaders aren't born; they're made.

Do you believe that? I do.

I also believe that great writers are made, not born.

This is terrific news. 

Instead of hoping we were born with the writing gene, we can get proficient through practice.

But not any kind of practice:

Deliberate practice. More specifically, practicing editing and rewriting.

"Great writers make writing look easy-breezy. But that's only because they don't skimp on rewriting." — Ann Handley.

Great writers have a solid editing process.

They know what to look for in each rough draft and do not aim for perfection on the first go.

"For me, the magic number is 4 drafts, each progressively less awful than the previous one." — Ann Handley.

I'll be honest: Most of these emails get edited once.

But when I'm writing a blog post or case study for Stop The Vanilla, I have a thorough process:

  1. Get all my thoughts and content onto the page — Ugly 1st draft
  2. Edit that first draft by removing selfish or unneeded content — 2nd draft
  3. Then take a walk or break and come back and edit the flow/structure — 3rd draft
  4. Hand it off to my team, who will check for grammar and whether it makes sense — 4th draft
  5. Final touches and then let er rip — 5th draft or final product

The key to improving your rewriting and editing process is first to have a process.

It can be a framework rather than a step-by-step process. 

But by having a post-editing process in place, you can improve the process to improve your writing.

I can't say this enough: rewriting and editing is how okay writing gets turned into excellent writing.

The same is true for you. The better you get at post-editing, the better writing you will become.

🧠 // JO