The Tasks of an Editor

The straw that broke the camel’s back. Everybody has heard that tired expression, and yet with writing, it can sadly carry some truth. If you’ve read any amount of business writing, most likely you’ve experienced this: not knowing what you have just read; being bored to tears; stopping and realizing that you have no idea what you have just read.

I’m here to tell you: it isn’t you! Poor writing has that debilitating effect on readers.

A typo here, a misspelling there, missing punctuation back there. Yes these are all small issues, but they add up. They quickly become annoying, however, for the most part they can be overlooked in deference to that larger issue of understanding the point of the entire document.

And what about those larger writing issues, such as understanding what it’s all about:

  • A piece that has no focus, whose point is not evident or worse doesn’t even exist.
  • Text trundles on and on, restating the same point over and over, albeit using different words.
  • A progression of ideas that just doesn’t make sense, defies logic, or is simply not in proper order.

All of this can be rectified with a good editor. Read about “The Nine Tasks of an Editor” in my most recent Toward Humanity blog post (download the PDF). Then tell me what you think.

Drowning in Social Media

Last month, I wrote about how to engage in social media judiciously—to control your involvement so that it was focused and rewarding. This month, I turn the tables completely around. Why? Because it is incredibly easy to become inundated with social media even as you engage intelligently.

Here’s my column on staying afloat: “Are You Drowning in Social Media?”; published in the March 2012 issue of Intercom magazine. Social media remains a moving target.