Editing Principle 06: Quickest Way to Voice-Check

And by voice-check I mean get a sense of whether the voice/tone/style you’re using in the text is doing what you want it to do.

This is done after you’ve finished, and ideally let it rest for a day. Ask yourself: What would a person who knew me but may not necessarily like me, or maybe someone I’ve hurt in some way, conclude from what I’ve done here?

i.e. Would they be more sympathetic to my point of view after having read this, less so, or unmoved?

This exercise can hurt but it's good at exposing the parts that are iffy. It has an effect much like flipping on a harsh overhead fluorescent in what was previously a cozily lamp-lit room. You may not like what you see in the mirror after that, but seeing your face reflected in unflattering light has its uses.

After you’ve done this mental exercise, you’re in a better position to revise. When I do it, I typically wind up with text that’s less cute, somehow, and more direct. And it definitely helps me whenever I’ve written while angry. That’s worth a post in itself but will have to wait.