Editing Writing 🖋
We have so many ideas that we wish to share, born out of our experiences and the unique ways in which we process them to draw inferences.
The objective of all writing is to add a new dimension to the reader's current experience of the subject.
To do so in a considerate way requires expending every effort on their behalf by organizing and presenting thoughts in a manner worthy of consumption. This is why it gives me joy if I am able to help others find clarity.
Wearing two hats
If we can be a writer even for a short while, we are able to:
- serve the purpose of self-expression
- pursue a creative outlet to externalize ideas
- break down thoughts and build them up for clarity
- create the opportunity for others to interact with these ideas and share feedback
However, once we are done with all that it is invariably time for becoming an editor to:
- serve the purpose of making our work accessible to others
- separate the efforts for making the work coherent, concise and clear from the creative process itself
- remind the writer-self to remain mindful of the reader's time; being kind, empathetic and intentional in writing
- care about the tone of writing, by making the text approachable and not prescriptive
The flow with which ideas appear to the writer-self need not be the most suitable sequence for the reader's consumption. It is the editor-self who rearranges, cuts, rephrases and polishes every part of the draft produced by the writer-self, making a contribution as valuable as that of the writing in the first place.
The writer- and editor-selves do not operate in series. Instead they practice their craft in tandem, performing a delicate dance while sharing the same stage.
The writer-self contributes knowledge and perspective sought by readers while the editor-self works towards making the text easy to navigate in the way the reader pleases.
When they both succeed, at once the reader finds delight, while all else fades away.
Editing: a debt of gratitude
It is forever a privililage for a writer to borrow a reader's time and present their writing. Editing is therefore a debt of gratitude paid by the writer to the reader, by spending the time well today that the reader saves tomorrow.
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