We’re almost there! The next part is the easy part. Today, you’re going to run your draft through a series of questions and edit it until it feels right.
SHOW DON’T TELL
Are your statements unique? Or could they be plucked from any corporate mission statement?
One way to do this is to show instead of telling.
Instead of saying “I provide excellent customer service” could you make specific and credible statements that would lead someone to conclude that? eg. “I respond to all inquiries within 24 hours.”
Instead of saying “I love playing guitar” you could say “On a Sunday afternoon you might find me on my porch creating renditions of late 90s hits on my acoustic guitar.”
Yes, it’s longer. But you’ll find no fluff or filler in there.
Succinct details. A bot wouldn’t write that. A company wouldn’t write that. A committee wouldn’t write that. A human would write that.
Read through your draft and look for opportunities to show instead of tell.
EDIT FOR CLARITY AND TONE
Pretend an old acquaintance knocks on your door. Imagine they have asked the first question below. How would you answer?
Deal with each question on its own. If you know how, record a voice memo on your phone for each of them. Otherwise, write the answers like you’re having a conversation.
- Who are you these days?
- What do you do?
- What can I expect if I engage with you?
- Why would I choose you?
- Can I trust you?
- Can I like you?
- What should I do next if I wanted to engage you?
This was a checklist to make sure your draft covered all of these but also to check that it sounded natural.
Re-read your draft.
- Does it sound natural?
- Does it sound anything like what you just recorded?
- Could your distant auntie read it and understand it?
- Could you read it to a 10 year old?
- Would someone you know really well read it with the names removed and know it was you?
- Did you include a story?
- Are the words you used words you would actually say in real life?
Edit your draft until you’re satisfied with your answers to the above questions.
PUT IT IN ORDER!
The first 1-2 sentences will be highlighted About You section on your Wiserr profile. The rest will go under More About You. Even if you use this on your personal website, make sure the important information is first!
Those first few sentences are what will make you interesting enough for the reader to keep reading or skip down to your offerings.
If you’re going to be perfectionist about anything, make it this bit.
EDIT FOR CONCISENESS
These are a few last tips to make your page as sharp as possible. This is optional but it can improve your page by making it easy to read.
- Re-read your draft to see if you have repeated yourself at all. Remove any repetitions.
- Remove adverbs unless they’re necessary.
- Cut unnecessary phrases or filler. If a sentence makes sense without it, remove it. Some perfectly unnecessary ones are:
- in terms of
- the fact that
- needless to say
- at the end of the day
- first and foremost
- it is important to know that
- in actual fact
- inasmuch as (use because or since instead)
- in the process of
- whether or not (whether is fine on its own)
- Reconsider your intensifiers: really, very, quite, extremely, severely – Read the sentence out loud without that word. If it still makes sense, drop it. There is nothing wrong with intensifiers but overuse waters down their effect.
- Do you use jargon? Remove it.
Want to go down a black hole of perfectionism? Check out this link: Writing Concise Sentences
TIME TO PUBLISH
You have completed 5 days of work on this. You have written a lot. No one else knows you better than you so no one else could have written it better.
Before you run out of nerve.
Rip that bandaid, bite that bullet, publish that about page.
You’ll find the world will keep spinning. You’ll also find that it will be a living document – you can (and probably will) make edits later.