Edit – from the Latin edo, editus – “bring forth; bring about.”
When we say the word ‘edit’, the meaning is taken to suggest “taking away’ or ‘whittling down’, and that’s true when it comes to writing.
Editing in a blogging contexts means taking out the parts that don’t quite scan, refining the whole, and preparing the article so it will present a coherent, cohesive message.
But, adding the original meaning of ‘bringing (something) forth” , a slightly different angle reveals itself. Refining means removing the extraneous parts to reveal the essential structure beneath.
For instance, paring down an article to remove filler, awkward sentences and unrelated ideas helps make the core message clearer by bringing it out from under all that obscuring material.
Editing, in nearly all contexts, makes it easier to get a bead on things. Clutter –mental or physical –doesn’t get in the way of vision, and you can focus better on fewer items.
When life today seems to be on a perpetual treadmill chasing after just-this-one-more-thing-to-do-right-NOW, rendering things to their cleanest, simplest forms can help you find a sense of balance, control and even gratitude in your life.
Editing and blogging
Blogging is textual sharing, and as can happen with any kind of sharing, things can get in the way: irrelevant details, awkward sentence construction or run-on sentences, etc.
Editing is refining the message so you end with the best presentation you can have: the message exactly as you want to say it.
You present knowledge into linked concepts– specially crafted passages that act like bullets aimed right at eliminating problems, or resolving issues, or stating a particular call to action.
Editing as a practice leads to precision sniping, and leading away from a scatter-shot approach, helps get the message delivered every time.
The editing process is an invaluable part of any creative process. In blogging, it will help streamline effort, focus action plans and unify aspects of the blog from themes and subjects down to posting schedules. Think of it as something akin to a checklist. Well thought-out checklists can help businesses of any size keep things in order and on point.
Editing comes after the creative process has been left to run its course. You can’t run both processes simultaneously, it’s like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it.
First, you let the imagination run free, no censorship, no rules: Brainstorming possible content to publish, maybe put in running themes like holidays, promotional schedules, etc.
When you have a grasp of what is possible or interesting, you can then begin considering the whole lot to pare down to the best ideas with the most probability of advancing your goals.
Using the previous example, this includes things like: nailing down the posting schedule/production schedule from inception through editing to posting — including any graphics selection, alternate titles and possible spin-offs, follow-ups (a series, maybe?) or future articles.
Brainstorming is followed by actual production — writing posts to beat the internal deadlines, and in line with blogging policy, then editing– fact-checks, final graphics if needed, once-overs for grammar, link-rot, spelling, etc. Then publishing the content — then following up with reader-interaction and answering comments.
Editing and business
When you do something well, and you’re good enough at it that people are paying you money to do it for them, or to buy the results from it, then it follows that with hard work and some business skills, you can make a living off of that particular talent.
But, as many entrepreneurs come to know, running a business isn’t all creation and creativity. There are other aspects of business to consider: taxes, payment, permits, forms and legalities. Important things like checking contracts, following up with clients, and scheduling meetings or running deliveries, etc.
If you can off-load and out-source the tasks that other professionals can do, and take the freed-up time to focus on the money-generating activities that only you can do, you play to your strengths.
Paying other people to deal with these aspects can leave you free to concentrate on the bottom line — doing the work that gets the money. A virtual assistant, a CPA, a good business lawyer or consultant…many times, the fees these services demand are worth the freedom to concentrate on the high-value stuff.
Editing combats the dangers of creeping perfectionism.
In the hunger for “more is better”, we can keep piling things on and polishing until the main message is obscured by fluff and minutiae. This is watering things down.
And with business, a false sense of control can push people towards doing everything themselves so they can meet the impossible standards in their heads, which leads to burn-out and destabilization.
Editing asks you to be aware of the time, and of the timing. People operate on several levels of time — personal time and work (more often an interlacing of the two), and collaborative time (working and spending time with others). You get to use your time wisely.
Boiled down, editing adds clarity to your life. It remove the fluff, the distractions, the time-sucks and the things that you can’t do well and aren’t really interested in improving, resulting in, well, not a more concentrated life — just one that has more of the things you need and want than useless, aggravating or wasteful flotsam and jetsam (and not just physical items at that).
Things start falling into a particular order, an alignment of sorts.
You start small, you may lapse a but, but you keep going.
First, one small aspect of your life — your work. Your writing. Then slowly, other aspects start being affected.
Things are a little lighter, run a bit smoother, you breathe a little easier as more and more of your essential self gets out from the burden of so much stuff tossed at you from the sides — by the media, by your own market, by your environment and from other people.
You get to contain your power and use it towards your own ends, not let others take pokes and potshots so you dribble energy attending to every small emergency.
You learn how to make time count when it counts, and that leaves you a bit lighter, and you can appreciate life more.
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