Chris Martin Writes is one of the many WordPress blogs I follow. Yesterday he wrote about editing one’s work, and how it’s not one of his favourite things to do. He also wrote about some tools he uses, successfully, to help him make it a more enjoyable process.
I, on the other hand, love it. In fact, I have to perfect as I go. Every couple of paragraphs I have to stop, re-read, tweak, polish, change, edit; otherwise I can’t go on. Every writer I’ve ever met, or worked with, has his or her own style. I had a writer, who once worked for me, who was all about stream of consciousness. He just had to get it all out and down on paper, without worrying about spelling, grammar, punctuation, flow or anything else. He knew it would be all right, in the end.
He’d always give me his first draft to look over. He wanted to know if he was on the right track, before he invested a whole lot more time and effort. Fair enough, I suppose. But as much as I liked him, and his work, every time I’d see him headed for my office, with sheets of paper in his hand, I’d groan. Because I’d have to read and re-read and re-read his work just to make enough sense of it — before I could figure out if it answered the brief, or not. And, as a result, for the first fifteen or twenty minutes I’d spend all my time correcting the errors, instead of evaluating the work.
It’s just the way I am. I get distracted by the imperfections. I can only read objectively and give thoughtful feedback when I’m looking at a really good draft. Even when it’s my own work. I love perfecting work, whether it’s mine or another writer’s.
But I’m lucky.
Very, very early in my career, when I was just starting out, I was given an opportunity to learn a wonderful lesson. One that has stayed with me, to this day. I was Continue reading