Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why Editing is Important

November begins tomorrow -- and with it, a new month of Create.Compose.Communicate, my weekly writing newsletter in collaboration with Sarah of Inspiration-Driven Communication.

The theme for the upcoming month is "Put on Your Editor's Hat" and will focus on tips and tricks for improving your rough drafts.


I'll be honest though... I don't love editing my own work.  (Other people's work is another story... I love helping others improve their writing!)

Most of the time, when I finish a blog post or an article or a paper, I'll go back through and reread it.  I'll change a few words, re-phrase a couple sentences, maybe pull some information to a different paragraph.  But I don't usually make a lot of changes.

One reason for the lack of changes at the end: I self-edit as I write.  With each sentence I type, I revise as needed before moving on.

The other reason: it's hard to look at your own work critically.  It's tough to "kill your darlings," as the saying goes.

As annoying or difficult as editing can be, I've learned that it's a crucial part of the writing process.  There is nothing worse than seeing an error in your work at a point when it's too late to make changes (yes, editors are human and don't always catch everything!).

Here's why it's important to edit:

1. Editing establishes and maintains your credibility.
Typos and errors will distract or confuse readers.  And it may make them question the validity of your content.  Whether you're writing for an editor, your boss, a client, or a friend, editing ensures that what you're saying isn't overshadowed by how you're saying it.

2. Editing gives you a different perspective.
While writing, you have a million thoughts running through your head and out your fingertips. Afterwards, switching to an editing mindset allows you to look at the words with new eyes and see inconsistencies or inaccuracies. Overall voice and tone become more apparent too.

3. Editing provides clarity.
When you edit, you have the ability to view the big picture, something you can't see while in the midst of writing. Upon review, perhaps you'll find that your conclusion now requires a slightly different introduction than you started with. Or maybe your main point shifted in the process or your paragraphs need to be re-organized.

4. Editing boosts creativity.
Playing with sentence structure or word choice comes into play once your draft is complete. You'll be able to spot repetition or weak sentences and then mix things up, making your writing sharper and stronger.

If you haven't signed up for Create.Compose.Communicate, be sure to sign up today. Our first newsletter of the new month goes out tomorrow, November 1.

Bonus: get Sarah's thoughts on why editing is important by visiting Inspiration-Driven Life.

32 comments:

  1. Hahaha...I am not a fan of editing my own work too and I think I can tell when I go back to read a blog post. It is something I have to make myself do. Good post

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  2. Hahaha...I am not a fan of editing my own work too and I think I can tell when I go back to read a blog post. It is something I have to make myself do. Good post

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  3. Btw, I am a big fan of your newsletters. I struggle with active and passive sentences...I am hugging that gem very close.

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  4. Great thoughts! I too have a hard time editing my own work but my purple pen loves to wreak havoc on others' papers.

    <>< Katie

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  5. such great information! i've heard it said that you should spend 20% of your time writing and 80% editing. it sounds like a lot to me, but there's no doubt that editing is critical if you want to be great at delivering content.

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  6. Dear Melissa, After reading your article, The only thing which I want to say is, editing can bring the best out of any piece of writing.

    ReplyDelete
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