I am starting a new project : I want to write better. In order do that I have to embrace my least favorite aspect of writing: Editing.
For me the exciting thing about writing is sharing the ideas I am having with others. Once those ideas are out of my head I become bored with them, and want to move on to the next thought. But if the goal is to communicate what I am thinking then the way I say it is as important as what I say. Unfortunately, like writing, there is only one way to learn to edit and that is to do it. Fortunately over the last hand full of moths I have built up a collection of work that is in desperate need of editing: This blog.
Here is the plan: every night I will edit one old blog post. The next morning I will link to the revised version, so that I am held accountable if it does not get done. I will keep at it until the editing process becomes second nature . The goal here is not the elimination of others from the editing process but to build a trust in my ability to self correct.
This is going to be a hard thing for me. First of all it means admitting my writing is not as good as I like to think it is. Second I have to dedicate myself to doing something I do not enjoy. To keep myself on track I need a set of rules and expectations that will help hold me to the task. Fortunately I have a plan and it goes something like this:
Commit to the goal of editing my old writing publicly. For me, one of the biggest fears I have is disappointing those I have made a commitment to. Knowing that others expect something from me is one of the best motivators I have found.
Adjust my attitude: There are two limiting beliefs that I have that need to be chucked out the window. The first is that learning the difference between homophones is something I can't do because I am dyslexic. This is bullshit, but it is bullshit that I have hidden behind for too long. This is something I can change. The other attitude is my general dread and hatred of editing. I do not like it because it exposes one of my weaknesses but I need to understand that it is a tool I can use to eliminate that weakness .
Schedule a recurring time to do it. Currently, I write in the morning. It has become a reflexive part of my day. I wake up turn on my computer, check email and Facebook , read a few blogs and then hammer out a few hundred words. It is part of my ritual. For me to be consistent with the editing of my old work, it has to become part of the ritual as well. I will find a time of day were I can work consistently on editing. Most likely this will be before I go to bed.
Look to my support network for help. The goal of this project is to get to a point where I can trust myself to edit my own work . However to get there I will need the help of the people around me who have a better eye for editing. It is with their encouragement and their eye for the details that I am missing that I will learn.
Be consistent in my work if not my progress. Growth takes time. I cannot expect to be a great editor at once; however with many nights of work it is a skill that I can learn. The key is consistency of practice. The key is to just do it no matter how much I don't want to, or how unpleasant it is at first. Being a better writer is something I want to be. My feet are on the path now all I need to do is to keep walking.
Wish me luck and have a great weekend. Come back Monday for the new content and the first edited post.