Advice on editing tone

Some emails and documents are weighty and important.

Write them, put them aside, come back to them. Do it again, and again. You’re not editing for accuracy here. You’re editing for punchiness (is it quick to read?), context (have you said too much?), and humor (do you sound like someone who’s upbeat and good?). 

In other words, you’re editing for tone — your tone.

Tone is never easy to nail down, and it can be hard to do quickly. Tone is as much a function of your mood as your intelligence. It’s hard to manufacture, maybe impossible. One’s true self tends to surface in words — it’s a clear window to our hearts and minds.

A little time is the best — and perhaps only — way to assess if your tone is right for you today. Writers get this more easily than most. Still, heed it as though life depends on it.

If you’ve got a start-up, it may feel like it does sometimes. (It doesn’t.)


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