Here’s my four-step process:
1. Create revision checklist, segmented by section.
For example, if the project is an article, my checklist may include “Lead,” “Point 1,” “Point 2,” and so forth.
2. Print hard copy of draft.
Why do I print versus revise from the computer screen? When the screen is up, my mind is often in "creative" mode. This can create a conflict between my inner “creator” vs. “editor.” When you're working off of a hardcopy, you’re more likely to operate exclusively in "editor" mode, which is appropriate during the revision process. Then you take your handwritten revisions and go back to the screen and become a creator again.
3. Revise one section at a time.
The reason why I take this approach is that it makes the process significantly less intimidating for me by breaking the project into bite-sized chunks. The less overwhelming I can make it, the less likely I'll procrastinate, minimizing any negative emotion that may keep me from being productive.
4. Proof final draft to make client-ready.
Once I have a revised draft, I review it again, line-by-line, to make sure it's client-ready. Have I chosen the best words? What areas do I need to strengthen? Is there anything I should cut altogether to really tighten this piece? How's punctuation? How's style?
What about you? What's your revision process? How does it work?
About the Author: Sean M. Lyden is a nationally recognized feature writer and columnist on sales, marketing, automotive and technology topics. As a ghostwriter and copywriter, Sean has served clients such as General Motors, SunTrust Service Corporation, Morgan Stanley, Embedded Linux Consortium and Shaw Industries. He’s also co-author of the book How to Succeed and Make Money on Your First Rental House (Wiley, 2003). Follow Sean on Twitter.
© Sean M. Lyden, 2012, All Rights Reserved