Lyn Graft on Proofreading

"Wait 1-2 days and look at it first thing in the morning."

Everyone has a story. The best way to sell your product, your vision, your dream, is to tell your story.

That's what Shār Snacks Chief Story Officer Lyn Graft focuses on in his book, Start with Story, and in his business storytelling production company, LG Pictures. No matter how you're telling your story—in a video, a TED talk, or a blog post—it still starts with writing.

Writing and waiting. For Lyn Graft, the best way to find the best way to present an idea is to sleep on it.

Here's Lyn Graft on his writing and proofreading workflow:

What's your favorite thing you've written recently?

A combination speech and whiteboard presentation that I gave to a health and wellness audience about the power of story in business. This is normally something I do in a slide deck, but I decided to write notes on a whiteboard because the founder of the company that hosted the event does livestreams once a week to his customers and writes on the whiteboard as he walks them through the functional medicine or health advice he is sharing.

Using a whiteboard triggers a different kind of stimulus for viewers in that it puts them into an learning state and as the author of what goes on there, you can be as playful or professional (numbers, drawings, writing style, colors, etc.) as you want. And I chose a left-to-right storytelling format as I went thru each topic and talked about the power of story for entrepreneurs and business executives.

What's your standard writing workflow?

I write bullet points on a blank piece of white paper on a clipboard to get the key thoughts down. Then I either type those up or scan to text using iPhone’s scanning feature to start turning those sections and headlines into words. Once I get the first pass done, I wait 1-2 days and work on it first thing in the morning each day for as many days as it takes until it is done.

What's your favorite way to proofread your work and spot things to change?

Wait 1-2 days and look at it first thing in the morning. Repeat. If it’s really important, I’ll switch to another project or writing effort and come back in a week. This helps review it more objectively and avoid getting attached to it.

What do you do with the things you cut?

I typically have 3 versions of what I’m writing:

  • The Summary Outline: Bullet points and always one page.
  • The Detailed Breakdown: Writing that is targeted towards the finished deliverable.
  • X-Materials: Third doc that has everything that gets cut or might be used for something later.

What's your ideal editing workflow?

Similar to my writing workflow:

  1. After creating a draft – let it sit 1-2 days
  2. Review 1st thing in the morning when I’m fresh
  3. Read it out loud to make sure it sounds good to me
  4. Let it sit for 2-3 days or week and review it fresh

→ Check out Lyn Graft's book, Start with Story, and follow him on Twitter @LynGraft.

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