"People think that the first draft is the big event and that revision is cleaning up afterward. But the first draft is really setting up the chairs,tables,and cups,and revision isn’t cleaning up after the party,it is the party."
"All first drafts are terrible. I don’t care if you’re Hemingway."
"What comes out unfiltered from anyone’s mind is mud."
The first two quotations come from writing professors whose names I’ve since forgotten (and they were quoting other people whom they’d forgotten). The last one is one I just made up myself. But regardless of the source,the advice is sound: no email should be clicked-to-send without revision.
I’ve found that for your average email,the number of revisions largely depends on the number of recipients. Here’s my experience:
1 to 5 recipients = 2 to 4 revisions
5 to 10 recipients = 8 to 12 revisions
Company-wide or to Executive Committee = 30 to 50 revisions
Even the simplest missive to one person benefits from a couple of extra passes,and if it’s going to the management committee,expect everyone to have changes (and changes to those changes).
1. Delete redundancies. Say it once. That’s enough. If you’re repetitive,the reader will stop reading and start skimming. (Like you probably just did.)
How many times do you do a revision?