Legendary marketing guru Drayton Bird asks these questions when editing his own or anyone else’s writing:
1. Are these sentences in the right order?
2. Does each one advance the argument?
3. Do I need that – or is it just there because I think it’s clever?
4. Is there anything – words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs – I can get rid of?
5. Is there anything I can add that will help?
6. Am I going for the jugular with enough force?
Copy these questions and ask them the next time you write anything (be merciless with your answers).
Then when you’re thinking of using an editor, send the questions to him or her along with a sample of your writing and ask them to answer them. Or better yet ask a few editors and hire the one with the best answers.