A Writer’s Check List for Finished Written Work

Tomorrow marks the end of the Write Nonfiction in November 2009. I had one more guest blog post, but it consisted of more advice about promoting books. I figured we did enough of that for one month. Instead, I though I’d offer you my check list for finished work.

This seems appropriate since you should be nearing the end of your November nonfiction project. Remember? You were supposed to start and finish a piece of nonfiction writing in 30 days. That’s what the WNFiN challenge is all about. It’s not just about reading the great blog posts. You are supposed to be writing as well.

Assuming that you have written something this month and assuming that you are nearing completion of that something, let’s take a little bit of time to talk about what needs to happen before that something gets sent out to an editor, agent or publisher.

As a journalist as well as an aspiring author, I constantly have to think about the quality of work I send out. This does not just mean the quality of my writing. It also means whether I am sending out material that has been fact checked, proof read and formatted correctly. I have to be sure I’ve met word counts, sent along photos, quoted people correctly, and spelled names and companies correctly as well—not to mention that I have to be sure I’ve made sense and gotten my point across succinctly.

For this reason, over the years I’ve come up with a check list of things all writers should ask themselves before they actually say their projects are finished and turn them in or send them off for consideration. I hope you find it useful.

Nina Amir’s Finished Work Check List

  1. Have I said what I meant to say?
  2. Have I written as concisely as possible?
  3. Have I written as simply as possible?
  4. Have a used the style appropriate for this publication?
  5. Is the article the correct length?
  6. Are all the names spelled correctly?
  7. Is the manuscript formatted correctly?
  8. Is my conclusion as strong as my lead or introduction?


  1. Have I read it aloud to find errors I might miss when proofreading or editing on the hardcopy or on the computer screen?
  2. Have I let it sit for a few days or more and then reread it to help me edit with more perspective?
  3. Did I run the spellcheck function?


  1. Have I read the piece with a critical eye?
  2. Have I asked someone else to read my piece?
  3. Have I searched out every passive verb in my piece and changed it to an active verb or changed the sentence construction to allow for an active verb and stronger sentence construction?
  4. Have I tightened each sentence by cutting out unnecessary words?

If you go through all 15 points on this check list, you’ll submit much more “finished” work than you would if you didn’t bother to take the time to do so.

Until tomorrow…happy writing and finishing your 2009 WNFiN projects.

About the Author

Nina Amir is a seasoned journalist, nonfiction editor, author, consultant, and writing coach with more than 30 years of experience in the publishing field. She has edited or written for 45+ local, national and international magazines, newspapers, e-zines, and newsletters on a full-time or freelance basis. Her essays have been published in five anthologies and can be found in numerous e-zines and Internet article directories. An award-winning journalist, she also has a proven track record as a book editor; one of her client’s books was self-published and then purchased and re-released verbatim by Simon & Schuster (Fireside) and another won the 1998 Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award (Inspirational category), received a contract from William Morrow but remained self-published and went on to sell over 115,000 copies. Another of her client’s books recently was purchased by O-Books, a fast-growing British publisher.

Nina also is an inspirational speaker, spiritual and conscious creation coach, teacher, and the regular holiday and spirituality expert on Conversations with Mrs. Claus, a weekly podcast heard in more than 90 countries and downloaded by 110,000 listeners per month (www.thefamilyyak.com). Through her writing and speaking, Amir offers human potential, personal growth and practical spiritual tools from a Jewish perspective, although her work spans religious lines and is pertinent to people of all faiths and spiritual traditions.

Additionally, Amir has written and self-published several booklets and workbooks, including:

  • Using the Internet to Build Your Platform One Article at a Time, 8 Tips for Getting Publicity, Exposure and Expert Status by Providing Free Copy Online
  • The Priestess Practice: 4 Steps to Creating Sacred Space and Inviting the Divine to Dwell Within It
  • The Kabbalah of Conscious Creation: How to Mystically Manifesting Your Physical and Spiritual Desires
  • From Empty Practice to Meaning-Full and Spirit-Full Prayers and Rituals…in Seven Simple Steps
  • Navigating the Narrow Bridge: 7 Steps for Moving Forward Courageously Even When Life Seems Most Precarious

Currently Amir is writing four books; she also compiled a Jewish celebrity cookbook for which she is seeking a publisher.

To learn how to use the Internet to build your platform one article at a time, why every author needs a platform or how to enhance your expert status by posting articles online, go to:

Nina Amir
CopyWright Communications





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  1. Hi Nina,
    This are all great items to do at the end of a project. I’ll bet everyone could add a few more but these will polish your work in a very targeted way. Thank you for an excellent series this month.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Lee, and for your participation and support of WNFiN this year!I hope you’ll come back next year as a guest blogger again. If you want to add your tips for double checking finished work as a comment here, please feel free to do so!

    (I came back and reread my post after I hit “publish” and still found errors! It’s hard to catch everything when you do it all yourself; writers must be diligent!)

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