Writing is all about editing

March 15, 2010

One of the most critical aspects of writing is often the one most overlooked: editing. Everyone thinks they can write. But there is a difference in writing, and writing well. That difference is where the editor comes in. Writing is all about editing

Looking to trim unnecessary words, making expressions stronger, paraphrasing quotes, moving critical information to the top, ending with a punch — the editor looks at the written piece with new eyes. Critical ones.

Weeding away the fluff. Polishing the rough edges. Making the piece sing.

It’s hard to retain the voice of the writer and yet capture the essence of an article. What’s harder is editing your own content.

I’ve been trained in school and on the job to never let the first draft be the final one. I write my initial thoughts. Build a structure. Fill in all the details. And walk away.

Re-reading what I’ve written a day, or sometimes even a couple of hours, later helps me finesse it. I can usually make it sharper. Add some interesting visuals. Make sure it all holds together well.

Then I think of a title that sums up the piece. And subheads that will move it along forward if it’s a lengthy article or blog post.

Finally I proofread. I’ve learned that relying solely on a spellchecker isn’t worth the time you save.

For my blog posts, I then add tags, choose categories, and, after a little bit of trepidation, hit the Publish button.

Even though this is an informal platform, it’s important to not let the quality of your writing lapse. It doesn’t matter what or why you write or blog –  editing takes your writing from a collection of thoughtful expressions to effective communication.

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12 Responses to Writing is all about editing

  1. Dagny TaggartNo Gravatar on March 15, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    This is really very important and I am guilty of relying on the spell check too much and err let’s say still learning :)

    But it is so true, I loved the end where you chalk out the difference between thoughtful expression and effective communication, something I need to work on and will do!

  2. TaraNo Gravatar on March 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Hi Mansi,
    I landed on your blog via blogadda. I found your “about me” very interesting. your passion and determination surely seems to have paid off well.
    I have your blog in my reader for a wk now, I love reading what you write.

    I was wondering if you could spare a moment to go thru any one post of mine and give me a critical comment (just the points on whats bad/wrong, whats good/write in the way i wrote that post) from an editorial point of view. Only if you like & can find time, that is.. I do not write as a writing exercise, mine is a personal blog but some tips can always be helpful..

    Thanks a bunch.

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on March 16, 2010 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, Tara. I’ve e-mailed you. Looking forward to reading more about your adventures :)

  3. lenaNo Gravatar on March 16, 2010 at 3:24 am

    You are everything I want to be regarding re-reading and editing my pieces. While I try to provide a valuable and proof-read content I know I could do better.

    But when it comes to my short stories, I take a lot of time to re-read and re-write. It works even better after a couple of months. This way i also realize that I have improved in writing aspect. Which is a bit tough to do with English not being a native language.

  4. SidNo Gravatar on March 16, 2010 at 6:38 am

    I only spellchecked my blog posts before reading this and reserved all the editing stuff for work that actually matters. But all that is going to change now. Thank You! :)

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on March 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Sid. Glad to know this helped somewhat :)

  5. SusanNo Gravatar on March 16, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Dear Mansi:

    Now I’ve got to be quite careful lest the editor in you starts correcting my comments. Mansi, do you do that? I mean involuntarily start editing the piece.

    I need to work on my writing. Long and winding sentences coupled with complex thoughts are my grouse.

    Thanks for the step-by-step instruction on writing and editing.

    Joy always,

    • Mansi BhatiaNo Gravatar on March 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm

      All the time, Susan. In my head. Even proof restaurant menus involuntarily. Can’t help it :)
      As I said in my post, it’s hardest to edit one’s own work … it’s also hard to know when to stop and let go. I have a tendency to obsess over my pieces, trying to make them perfect. But I realize that there comes a point when I need to stop and just let it be. Thanks for stopping by :-)

  6. AnahidNo Gravatar on March 16, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I tend to read my blog post several times before I publish it. I’ve also learned that relying solely on spellchecker isn’t good because there are many things that it can’t catch. Great post!


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