Feature image: epSos .de

How many times do you review/re-write your work before sending it to an editor? Or even before submitting it as a MatadorU assignment? This is a critical part of the process and could be the difference between your work being passed on or accepted. When you’ve finished writing a piece – whether a narrative, a listicle, intro and captions for a photo essay, a pitch – read it again. Then again. Then sleep on it. Then read it again. All the while keeping a very close eye on:

  1. Spelling mistakes / typos
  2. Grammatical errors (Fundamentals of Travel Writing students pay close attention to Chapter 1 – review this periodically)
  3. Proper use of punctuation (Hint: Be very judicious with exclamation points. Stay away from semi-colons unless you’re very clear about how they are used.)
  4. Superfluous writing

Be very critical. It can be hard to cut things you personally like, but you need to constantly be asking yourself: “Is this really necessary? Will the piece lose any meaning if I remove it? How can I reword this to be more direct, shorter?” Watch for words/phrases that reflect an internal thinking process:

  • “I’ll be honest…”
  • “Let me be clear…”
  • “It’s been a while since I’ve written about this…”

If possible, as a last step, get a friend or family member to proof read. A pair of fresh and objective eyes is always good. Remember, your assignments aren’t just throw-aways, just because they’re not pitches to be published. These should always be submitted in the best possible state (no typos, grammar mistakes, proper punctuation) you can get them in.

Your work is a reflection of you. There are far too many people you have to compete with. Give yourself the best possible chance.