I love editing my own work, other Chile WhatsApp Number List people’s work. Thus, bad copy on my dentist’s website … Give me a rough draft with poor sentence structure and I’ll entertain myself for hours.
Most writers seem to have a Chile WhatsApp Number List relationship with editing. And I get it:
Becoming a serious editor, one who can pinpoint deep weaknesses in a piece of writing, is hard. Especially when that piece of writing is yours.
It’s much easier to review your work for grammar mistakes, change a few words to improve flow, and call it “edited.” We grow attached to our words and don’t like cutting something we love — even if it would benefit our content marketing.
Although editing can sometimes feel heartless, it’s one of a writer’s most powerful tools.
By embracing a practice of “Ruthless Editing,” you can actually become a more creative, productive, and empathetic writer.
Meeting my first Ruthless Editor
I didn’t always love editing. As a green teenage writer, brimming with adjectives and enthusiasm, I rarely edited my own work.
Like many writers, I was in love with the artistry. I filled countless spiral-bound notebooks with emotional poems, essays, and journal entries.
I loved writing so much that I decided it should be my livelihood. Journalism seemed like a viable career path, so I joined the school newspaper during my first semester of college.
The newspaper advisor was a slight, passionate woman who I could easily imagine in her former life: behind a paper-strewn news desk, cigarette dangling from her lips, always on her way to capture the next breaking story.
Unlike my grade-school writing teachers, this professor did not give one whit about word count. To her, a draft could always be shorter, tighter.
Her strict adherence to AP style and the inverted pyramid forced every student to learn to cut, cut, cut.
At first, I resented her and her biting red pen. She didn’t care about my work or how I stayed up late to meet her challenging deadlines.
But over time, I began to realize she was working in service of a higher goal.
The hard lesson every writer needs to learn
To become a good self-editor, you have to learn to be honest with yourself about your writing. And that’s a hard lesson.
As a teenager, I had my own goals. When I received feedback I didn’t like, I simply brushed it aside. How could others know what was right for my writing?
But with the college newspaper, there was another goal: Clear communication to our readers — to make sure students knew what was happening on their campus; anything else was incidental.
Unlike when I was a “pure artist,” every sentence didn’t have intrinsic value. Some information was useful, other information was not. Period.