Living a life of … editing?

I have to admit, I love great writing. 

For me, a great piece of writing should flow from one idea to the next and gently nudge the audience to a new idea or perhaps a conclusion that they’d never drawn before.  You are this lighting in a bottle, this nudge.  I sometimes enjoy reading something that completely turns my preconceptions on end and makes me, perhaps, rethink a conclusion that I’ve held dear for a long time.  The challenge that a good writer can give to their readers.

In order for that good idea to become a great piece of writing, though, it needs to go through the editing (and proofreading) process.  It’s rare that the first draft of any work that you write will have that flow, that artistry.  Look at your writing again (see something such as an editing guide for help).  Perhaps this idea works better closer to the top, and that one needs a little bit more background information before your audience can really grasp what you want to say to them. You cut and paste, you work with what you gave yourself.  After you’ve edited your work a few times, and before you publish it, it’s always great to be able to show it to someone else.  The second set of eyes can find something that doesn’t quite flow for them.  You’ve read your own writing countless times by now, and you know what you’d like to say, but that second person may have a question or suggestion that improves the flow or find the ‘of’ that should have been an ‘or’ that the computer’s spell-check ignored.

Good writing, be it blogging or book writing is much like music.

Don’t forget that the little proofreading oversight can glare at the reader, and like a mistaken note in a symphony, it makes your audience shudder.  It’s acceptable to hold a moment before pushing that publish button.  A musician tunes up for a reason, much as a writer will edit.

Writing and editing is a daily journey, and knowing When You Have to be Living That Life of Writing so that it compliments the rest of your life is also important.  Your inspiration comes from your life, so make sure you inspire yourself to write something great!


The power of thinking like an artist, is also an important aspect to the creative life of a writer, you conduct your reader through your writing as you would a painting, or music.  You plunge them into the side of the book with as much passion and skill you possess. You transport and amaze them.

Most of all you learn what your reader needs, and what you need to grow as a writer to give them that ability.  You are not yet a master, you need time and energy and the joy of a challenge.  In short, you need to go and do this every day and find new ways to build your writing so that editing, the fine art improvement shines with every word.

You have this power, and should you choose to live a life of writing, you must choose to live a life of editing.

One Comment

  • Marlena Cassidy

    I completely agree, Jane. First drafts really shouldn't be read by anyone other than yourself and the people helping you out. Most readers aren't interested in a work in progress; they want the real thing.

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