Editing Without (Much) Pain

Authors need editors. Working with a poor editor is a painful chore, while working with a really good editor can make the whole process of writing less painful. That doesn’t mean the total absence of pain, but it certainly is manageable IF the author understands the role of the editor.

In my case I am most fortunate; I have a long-time colleague who has been able to take my writing and help turn it into “just what I meant to say.” Like many Extraverts, I tend to write as I speak. And like many Extraverts (see MBTI Overview), I tend to use a lot of words. My editor helps reduce the excess verbiage and turn my sometimes rambling ideas into cohesive, clear thoughts that support a series of key messages. This process is where the pain comes in. since those are my precious words that are being cut, revised, and restructured. But the end result is so much clearer, shorter, simpler, and easier to understand.

In addition to high-level conceptual editing and basic copy editing, my editor is able to point out the “rabbit trails” (a great term from David Allen) that seem to creep into my larger-scale writing projects. Rabbit trails are usually paragraphs or segues that are off-point or pull the reader away from the main idea of the chapter. It seems those of us who are iNtuitives on the Myers-Briggs tend to find our thinking going in several directions at once, sometimes in seemingly random fashion. (See. The previous sentence is a good example of a rabbit trail.) Thank goodness for a good editor!

Who edits your writing?

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