Monday, June 23, 2008

How much editing do you do?

I hear all the time from writers who can't leave well enough alone. In fact, I'm married to one! (Well, he's actually a pastor, but he's been working on an apologetics book for the last dozen years.)

You editing addicts are such a mystery to me. Where do you get your patience? How do you keep your enthusiasm for what seems like a never-ending process? How will you know when it's finally 'done'?

At one of the Klemmer & Associates seminars I attended, we heard about the four different quadrants we operate in - the Supporter, the Promoter, the Controller, and the Analyst. Can you guess which one these compulsive editors are in? : )

Me, I fall in the Controller group. Surprised? Hardly, right? One characteristic is that we tend to do things very decisively, doing them only once if at all possible.

Lucky for me, most of the writing I do works well with this - especially lately. Doing copywriting, I'm seeing, is much more a matter of instinct and vision than research, fact-checking, and parsing. Yes, of course there's a certain flow, a definite checklist of necessary elements, and lots of room for tweaking and rewording to choose the most powerful words possible. But there's a definite sense of forward progress as you go.

Also lucky for me, I don't typically take projects that are research-intensive. Of course, thank goodness, I've got the blessing of lots of work to choose from, so I'm growing pickier and pickier without seeing a decline in my project load. But the idea of researching and writing highly technical articles about unfamiliar topics, then going back to edit, rephrase, and diagram sentences... pretty much makes my skin crawl!

Lucky for the tech clients out there... there are TONS of Analysts who are freelance writers. Got to love Analysts! Bless your hearts, you'll pick and perfect until the cows come home. You'll dig in and research odd topics until you know them well. And the clients who are fortunate enough to find you, if they're really smart, will realize the gems you are!

So, how about you? Are you a compulsive editor? Or do you just get in the zone and let it flow? (knowing it's just fine as is!)

1 comment:

Teresa said...

Whew, I am so happy to learn that I am not alone. I don't edit a lot either. I write a lot of articles about things I don't necessarily know a whole lot about, so I do a bit of research (sometimes more than a bit!) and take notes (pseudo-outline) and then I have at it. I do a read through to make sure it all makes sense, but then, generally I'm finished and off to the next gig.

You always hear how you should edit, edit, edit, but I figure if you do it right the first time, it sure saves time! (How's that for modesty?)

Thanks for the post, Sue!