What if you don’t know your work is bad? What if you think, “This is good stuff!” when it’s not? How is a writer to know for sure if they got it right?
Mathematicians have it so easy when it comes to checking their work. It’s either right or it’s wrong. There’s no in between. But there is no way to check your work when it comes to writing.
Or is there? Hmmm…So this is when I put on my trusty thinking hat, (you can read my post about all my hats here) and I set out to formulate a check list of do’s and don’ts and if’s and but’s.
DO’S: Do care about your writing, because if you don’t the reader won’t. Style and content are important, but so are spelling and grammar. Readers are extremely quick to judge a writer’s mistakes. Come on, admit it. You’ve held a poorly written book in your hands at one time or another and didn’t hesitate to say so.
DON’TS: Don’t take criticism personally. It’s not about you; it’s about your business. You’ve entrusted your work to another pair of eyes to pick up on things you missed or poorly clarified. Thank them for their honesty and go about clearing it up. It they’re confused, others will be too.
IF’S: If criticisms begin to contradict each other, you may have the wrong readers. Choose readers that are familiar with your genre. If they say “I don’t get it” when everyone else does, it could be time for a change of eyes. But once again, thank them.
BUT’S: But what if you still think your work is good after all this? The fact is you are the creator. You know how your writing needs to flow, grow, and show. In the end if your gut is still saying it’s good, and you have no lingering doubts in your mind about it, then send it out. Let the editors be the judge now.
The Unlocked Secret: In the end, that checklist is really all about the DO’S. Do you care enough to get it right? Do you put your best foot forward? Do you take your business seriously?
Aristotle knew “we are what we repeatedly DO.” Even Nike knows the road to self-improvement begins with…Just DOing It.
So, DO you have a certain way to check your work? DO tell!