Why editing your work doesn’t ever work (and what to do instead)

If you’re having a hell of a time balancing professionalism with some lightheartedness and bringing a bit more personality into your writing, you’ve probably tried majorly editing your work, letting it sit for a bit, and banging out a SFD…and you probably didn’t get the results you were looking for. What the actual hell?!? Check out this blog post to learn why and what to do instead.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard one of these pieces of advice:

  • You have to carefully edit your writing

  • You have to let your writing “marinate”

  • You have to write a shitty first draft (aka SFD).

Okay, lots of hands, lots of hands. You can put ‘em down now.

I raised my hand, too, in case you were too busy self-consciously staring at your feet or looking around the room to see who else’s arm got so tired they had to support it with the other one. (Were you the kid who never raised their hand first? Me too.)

I totally get it. On the surface, this kind of advice looks legit. Like the kind you’d get from a buttoned-up editor who makes run-on sentences (my first love) and exclamation points (my second love) dig a deep, dark hole in the ground where they all go to die a long, slow, grammatically proper (and boring) death.

If you’re having a hell of a time balancing professionalism with some lightheartedness and bringing a bit more personality into your writing, you’ve probably tried one (probably more than one, right?) of these approaches…and you didn’t get the results you were looking for.

With all those failed attempts to jazz up your words like a five-star restaurant fancies up a grilled chicken salad (I present to you sous vide chicken marinated in bourbon and whiskey atop a bed of hydroponic Bibb lettuce drizzled with a jus of balsamic vinaigrette and fresh Turkey figs and finished with fried bagel croutons and roasted Campari tomatoes), it’s ridiculously easy to think there must be something wrong with you.

You’ve got no personality. You’re not funny. You have no stories to tell. You’re boring.

You’ve probably wondered why it’s so easy for everyone else. What are YOU doing wrong? (Also, why are you afflicted with this constant worry and stress about it? You’d think the inability to write something interesting would be enough of a freakin’ albatross…)

Umm, nothing.

No, seriously.

You’re not doing a damn thing wrong. There’s nothing wrong with you. And there’s actually nothing wrong with all that advice that you can’t seem to make work for you.

The only “problem” here is that that advice works for some people. But it doesn’t work for ALL people.

And that’s the key difference, my friend. While Bethenny the Best-Selling Author or Esmerelda the Epically Extraordinary Editor are out there preaching the painstaking line edit process as the one and only true path to success, it’s simply not true.

Just like there’s no one-size-fits all way of eating or working out or laughing. (Can you imagine if everyone’s laugh sounded the exact same? That’s a creepy, surreal world I don’t think I wanna be a part of…)

If you’re anything like my supremely awesome clients, you’re spending a ton of time writing, rewriting, editing, and then starting all over again; blocking off whole days to write one email; and still feeling like there’s a certain something missing.

You’ve done a shit ton of work, but you’re not getting what you want.

My peeps (that’s you!) usually do better when they do things a different way. Again, not because there’s anything wrong with them or because any of the other approaches suck. 

But because they’re already overthinking everything. They’re in their head waaay too much. They’re analyzing and overanalyzing each and every word. They’re strategizing every last sentence. They’re debating the delivery of a single phrase. 

And it’s keeping them stuck.

They won’t send that email or publish that post until it’s polished and perfect.

They keep questioning whether they’re headed in the right direction (even though there’s really no road map or app for that…). If it makes sense. If it’s relatable. If they just change that one word, will it make the piece shine?

And when they persist in all the question asking and making all the edits, it keeps their confidence in the gutter.

You see, editing usually focuses on removing things. Tightening things up. Using fewer words to say the same thing. Obsessing over one word here and oh, this one riiight here.

You know what usually happens in that process? They edit their personality out. (See aforementioned second guessing and analysis paralysis.)

But, when they just let loose and have a little fun, without worrying if it sounds “right” or if it’s “funny,” when they embrace the messy, guess what? It actually comes out sounder better and funnier.

Why does this work for people like you?

Well, I’ll just say this: sexy math. Instead of focusing on subtracting, we add more personality, and we multiply the you factor by a coefficient of awesome for some copy that equals mindblowingly original. 

(In non-math-ish terms, we stop you from editing yourself right outta the picture.)

That’s why I created Spice Rack. Because I’m over kick-ass people like you having the worst time writing copy that sounds like them and making writing a stressful thing that keeps getting pushed to the bottom of their never-ending to-do list. (It’s right there beside “schedule horribly painful and expensive dental procedure.”)

I don’t like seeing plucky folk such as yourself get lost and overwhelmed and feel like you’re just a tiger cub chasing its adorable tail…and then feeling like a complete loser (ahem, Uncle Scar) because you just can’t seem to catch it.

I wanted to create something that would work for MY kind of people. 

Which is why Spice Rack is a totally customized copy review service for people who want to add more personality to their writing…instead of Roomba-ing all the fun out of it.

If you’d like to punch up your copy, sprinkle some personality in (much like you’d sprinkle garlic  powder on some French fries, although my definition of “sprinkle” involves the word “liberal…”), and balance being funny with being a damn serious business owner, THIS is a most excellent place to start.

Listen, I’ve got some tough love for ya: You can keep on keeping on, editing your copy with exacting precision and convincing yourself personality has no place in your writing…but I’ve got my skeptical glasses on (the ones that casually rest at the bottom of my nose and allow me to look over the rims at you while jauntily raising one eyebrow) and I’ve gotta say, I doubt much will change because you’ll never be the kind of person that kind of stuff will work for.

You’re in good company. I’m rubbish at it, too. (Seriously. You won’t find Draft #1, Draft #2, Revisions_March 7, FINAL DRAFT: FUCK THIS on my computer.)

You’ll continue to feel uninspired. Incapable of writing anything interesting. Worried that people won’t “get you” or will take you less seriously or won’t think you’re funny. You’ll feel meh every time you read your copy. You’ll keep feeling stuck and overwhelmed. Writing boring copy that no one reads. 

But who the hell wants that?!

Not when you can bring your voice and your value to your copy and start showing up as you and actually connecting with your clients.

What’s that? You wanna know more? Let me show you the way, my friend.