“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs,
is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
– Dr. Seuss
Editing is an essential part of a youth minister’s life, of a blogger’s task, of being human.
Editing involves the before and after actions of writing. Before even writing, it serves us best to have a plan, an outline. Something is not even worth beginning to write or plan unless I have determined the beginning, middle, and end. The Covey principle of Begin with the end in mind is key. The ending of writing demands proofing. (I must apologize, here, I is knot verily goods about thisss stuff.) Writing blog articles late at night or early in the morning doesn’t help. Another pair of eyes is necessary before pushing SEND / PUBLISH if it is important. I have recently undertaken a new level of drafting materials in English and en Espanol and that translation demands more eyes as well,
Editing involves assuring for readability / usability. My colleague Margaret always would demand that something must pass her “So What?” test. Why are we doing this, so what difference does it make? This is often the fatal error that first-time witness talk-ers make. They overwhelm their story with so much detail that is only important to them and not necessary for the listener. Too much detail overwhelms their ability to point with clarity to the Christ they aspire to witness. Editing always calls us to remember the recipient. (Pro Tip: I just found Hemingway, an app that I believe is making me a better writer.)
Editing involves making certain that the content has context. No matter if it is for publication or a class or a program… does it flow? Does it connect? I recently attended a morning long program with some rather low expectations. Yet, I still walked away disappointed. The program was awful about how it honored our time during a busy period by being so disjointed. It matters not if you have delegated various elements to other people, you are responsible for it. Be the editor, own it.
Editing is life. Donald Miller insists that you are responsible for your ow life. You are responsible for the story it tells. Too often we become victim to our own life story, but we are the ones actually heroically living and telling it. Miller would remind us that Sometimes, when writing, the way to fix something is to delete it and start over. Don’t be afraid of the delete key. Use the delete key; edit by saying, “No!” And, if have yet to start owning the story of your life, it is worth repeating Covey’s heaven-minded advice. Begin with the end in mind.
Editors have a patron saint: St. John Bosco who is also the patron for young people. A quick internet search does not provide any particular reason why he is the patron saint of editors. (Yeah, that was unnecessary!)