Make No Mistake

Outtakes 305

Make No Mistake

By Cait Collins



I’m helping train a new employee for my team. Normally we start with the basics of the computer programs and applications, teach them about products, and pray they understand basic grammar so that they can create a decent business letter. Considering some of the notes and emails we get, I’d swear kids are not taught English. But I digress.

I had a thought regarding the training…why not train from the end result back to the beginning. Sounds a little disjointed, but training from a quality control point of view makes sense. Start with the completed letter and the OneNote documentation package. Step one is read the request and determine what the client is asking. It’s not always as easy as it sounds because the request may be hand written and barely legible or the request rambles. Once you determine the need, start pulling documents that verify the points of the response. KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly).

As I work with the new guy, I’m impressed by his questions. And he takes notes. While this approach may appear backward, but by seeing the mistakes others make, maybe, just maybe, he’ll take the steps to avoid them.

I hear people say “I’ve always thought about writing a book.” Okay, have at it, but don’t start at the beginning of your story. Start by being the editor and analyzing a successful author’s latest novel or story. How did he start the story? Did he provide enough back-story to grab your interest and place you in the action? Or did he begin with the day that was different? Are the characters believable? Is it over researched and over thought? Were you into the action or thumbing through the pages to get to the end? Were there typos and grammar errors? Was there good flow from scene one to the end?

Reviewing another person’s work could give you insight into the pitfalls a successful writer faces and help you avoid making the same mistakes. And, it might make writing and self-editing less frustrating.

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