Editing is hard work.
I spent half an hour this morning fixing ONE PARAGRAPH. Four sentences! I rewrote the thing several times, trying to get my point across in just the right manner. The great theme behind all good writing is to show and not tell.
Sometimes showing is much harder than it looks. Showing up can be harder than it sounds. Refining skills, honing in on excellence, takes a little bit of moxie and days of resilience. Don’t quit.
Students in my composition classes learn to write essays, starting with a basic paragraph and working up into an essay. They have to complete a list of steps to start from “idea” to get to “final draft.” Step 2 is writing a rough draft, and steps 3 and 4 are editing. The journey to finding the perfect sentence continues on. What I love and hate about writing is that, within grammatical guidelines, any sentence can be written in almost any way. I can get caught up in the rules very easily. Watch out for lazy words, write in active voice, use the most effective, succinct word. Writing is an art. The more I write, the more challenging I find it, and the more my mind races, pulses pounding, eyes blinded, fingers flying. Usually there is a lot of nibbling upon nails or munchies, and binge coffee drinking. Step 3 and 4 in the assignment are challenging because once a revision had been made, we very often think we are just fine and move on. But Step 4 is crucial. Step 4 is finding an even better way to get the point across. Step 4 is preparing for the final presentation. Step 4 is where the editor must move out of the way and seek the best for the writing. This final set of revisions pushes the writing to a new level of effectiveness.
I have a Roomba and her name is Blueberry. I love her. She is one of my BFF’s. There is a brush that catches the hairs and dirt and stuff. I honestly don’t know how it works, but whatever. If I don’t periodically clean out the brush, it gets filled with grossness. Three girls, a guy, and a cat. Picture it.
This brush, capturing hair and dirt and strings and carpet fibers and dust and gunk, gathers ideas and takes away our junk. That is Blueberry’s job. That is what she was created to do. But she has to get cleaned up every once in a while or else she is ineffective and, let’s face it, just plain gross. There’s a red error light that won’t even let me press Go because the brush is too clogged. She can’t even do her job.
Every person on this planet has great purpose. We each have some gift to be used for some fantastic purpose. Be willing to use that gift, hone that skill, so that it can be used most effectively in a world that needs some sparkle.
Sometimes we just need to sit down and do a little revising. Even if you only have half an hour a day. Invest in yourself. Whatever your art is, whatever your calling, be willing to edit. Use Step 4 to clean out the junk that doesn’t need to be there. It takes time, patience, and tenacity. Stick with it. Do it. Go clean out the brushes.
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