That Editing Feel
I now understand editing is a left-brain artistic process and not a technical one. The fundamental difference is the attitude that one enters the process with. Editing requires a zen atmosphere, which comes from a relaxed mind. On the other hand, the actual editing (typing, grammar, story logic, flow, and spelling) is a technical right-brain activity.
What does editing feel like? The answer is nothing. Good editing requires blank emotions. If I am angry, upset, preoccupied, tired, hungry, bored, or frustrated, then things go wrong right from the start. So, I have learned that if I sense any hesitation, I immediately stop. Otherwise, it takes an enormous amount of effort to undo the damage. I find editing to be enjoyable, relaxing, and fun. It is like I am running on automatic and have become a crazy passenger watching the story from 30,000 feet.
When I edit, I have a specific goal which is a right-brain beginning. For example, locating errors or attacking dialog. However, I sometimes edit for fun. Or is this security? By security, I mean maintaining a “warm fuzzy” feeling that the document is ready for others to read.
During the process, words absently enter my mind. Once processed, the words are corrected if needed. That's it. There is no excitement, joy, anger, or reaction. I am like The Terminator. Well, this is not entirely true. I get upset when I discover a big mistake, and I get excited about the plot. However, these positive and negative feelings have decreased over the years.
While editing, I continue until I notice I am no longer in the blank mindset. Sometimes this occurs when I uncover a significant issue. 30% of the time, I can switch to a different document, and the blank slate returns.
What is the difference between editing and writing? When I write, the feeling is adventurous, engaging, forward-thinking, and focused. My mindset is 20% on the last sentence, 30% on the topic, 10% on the following sentence, and 40% on the present sentence. Grammar, spelling, sentence structure, story, plot, and other super important aspects are on autopilot. The zen slate is also not present. Writing is an active and engaging process that requires right-brain activity. Yet my stories are all left brain, idealistic, and thought-provoking. Hmm. Something to think about.
What about professional editors? I do not know how they work their magic. If somebody forced me to be an editor, I would be terrible. Granted, I occasionally edit other people's work.
I still find editing enjoyable, but I cannot always get in the mood. I am lucky that at the moment, I have many documents to work with. Yet, I see the same mistakes repeated. Hmm. Something to blog about.
You’re the best -Bill
September 22, 2021
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