EDITING-SCHMEDITING

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On Monday April 16, 2012 Heather Day Gilbert blogged about writing mistakes. Her advice, passed on from a friend, is “You cannot put your unedited work out there. Even on your blog.” She advises hiring an editor.

I know she is right. I will need a professional editor for my final manuscript, but…really, my blog.  I edit my blog and my husband reads it for mistakes before I publish it. Isn’t that enough?

Luckily, I read the comments and I found clarification. Jill commented and said that blogging is a different kind of writing. She said it should not be labored writing and you should be able to breath easier when you blog. She does a cursory examination and posts her blog unedited. Heather commented back and agreed with the unedited blog, but she does go over and preview her own post for routine errors before it goes public.

I am currently reading “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. Great book! Here is what he has to say about editing on page eighty-seven.

Learn to enjoy this tidying process. I don’t like to write; I like to have written. But I love to rewrite. I especially like to cut: to press the DELETE key and see an unnecessary word or phrase or sentence vanish into the electricity. I like to replace a humdrum word with one that has more precision or color. I like to strengthen the transition between one sentence and another. I like to rephrase a drab sentence to give it a more pleasing rhythm or a more graceful musical line. With every small refinement I feel that I’m coming nearer to where I would like to arrive, and when I finally get there I know it was the rewriting, not the writing, that won the game.

Dr. Robert Cramer was my former professor many years ago in a graduate program. He was smart and inspiring and he taught me a lot. During a critique of one of my papers he said, “Your problem is you don’t like to edit.” Like so many things he said, I tucked it away and remembered it.

I think that Dr. Cramer was right. I don’t like to edit. On the other hand, I am a writer and I do want the reader to understand what I am saying, so I think I will take William Zinsser’s advice and learn to enjoy the tidying up process.

Tell me how you feel about editing. Do you enjoy it? Is it a difficult process for you? Let me know.                                                             Laurel

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