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How many people should check our writing?

What’s the ideal number of people who should check any piece of writing which goes out of the door? Even if you’re a confident writer and an authority on the subject, I’d suggest that ‘none’ would be asking for trouble. We all need someone else casting an eye over our writing; it’s easy to write something ambiguous without realising it, for example.

On the other hand, it’s obvious that writing by committee is desperately time-consuming (and how many times should you go round the loop?). Also, once a piece of writing is the property of a group, some members will want to have input just to flag their own presence. (If you think they’re making that amendment just for the sake of it, you’re probably right).

So the ideal number is almost certainly ‘one’ – and someone you can trust too. Someone who will read the piece and make suggestions promptly. Someone who can be relied on not to pass on the document any further, getting you into the group-feedback nightmare. And someone who’s no more concerned than you are about the reaction others will give when they see the final piece. I hope you’ve got someone who can do that – I know I have (*waves*).