Complex Editing Is a Cycle of Task-Switching
Let’s apply this concept of the one-minute plan to your editing process. To edit effectively, you must be methodical, strategic, and focused. Editing involves anywhere from three to six levels of work ranging from exhaustive and in-depth substantive editing to skimming and superficial correcting—you must decide which type of edit you’re doing before you begin the work. Each type of edit includes different tasks and requires a different mindset. Attempting to do every type of edit at once will overwhelm your working memory. And, because each type of editing requires such different thinking and skills, attempting to perform all editing tasks at once effectively creates a continuous cycle of task-switching.
Try grouping your editing tasks and approaching them by moving from general to specific:
- Start with substantive editing, which includes editing for clarity, organization, and structure
- Next, work on sentence-level editing for style and flow
- Finally, work on mechanical corrections and proofreading
Think of the groups like phases where you complete a phase before moving onto the next one. Each phase will have subsets of tasks within them. The subsets of tasks may function like a checklist for your review. It may take several cycles to work through your phases and checklists until you’re happy with the results.
Apply Task-Switching Theory to Editing
Once you’ve created your editing phases and checklists, you’re ready to work and successfully overcome interruptions. When you receive an email or text alert or a colleague otherwise intrudes on your work, delay shifting your attention to the notification or ask the colleague to wait one minute. During this minute, you can note where you left off on your checklist and make a plan to return to work after you’ve addressed the interrupting task. This will free your mind to completely focus on the interrupting task and facilitate an effortless return to work.
Edit for Clarity and Brevity with WordRake
There’s so much to do when creating a document for work. But no matter how busy you are, if you want to create effective documents, then editing for clarity and brevity should be on your business-writing checklist. To accomplish that task faster and more effectively, try WordRake. It’s a tireless automated editor with limitless focus. Sign up for a 7-day free trial today.
About the Author
Ivy B. Grey is the Chief Strategy & Growth Officer for WordRake. Prior to joining the team, she practiced bankruptcy law for ten years. In 2020, Ivy was recognized as an Influential Woman in Legal Tech by ILTA. She has also been recognized as a Fastcase 50 Honoree and included in the Women of Legal Tech list by the ABA Legal Technology Resource Center. Follow Ivy on Twitter @IvyBGrey or connect with her on LinkedIn.