Editing Equals Respect
by Nina Solomita, MFA
Professional Writing Services
As I write this, I can hear Aretha Franklin wailing in the background: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,
Find out what it means to me, R-E-S-P-E-C-T! . . . Oh, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me, sock it to me. . . ”
You might ask: How does that song relate to my work as an editor and coach who assists writers in making their messages as clear, concise and comprehensible as possible?
Recently I heard an interview with George Saunders, the brilliant short story writer, essayist and novelist discussing revising his own work. He described his process as an act of respect for the reader because in so doing he eliminates what isn’t necessary and offers only what is essential and specific to the character and story. He gives an example which begins with the sentence, “Jane walked into the room and sat down on the brown couch.” He goes through a process purging what isn’t necessary until finally the sentence reads, “Jane sat.” Admittedly this example may be exaggerated to make a point. However, the basic idea is key to the editing of all types of material.
By eliminating what is not necessary and presenting a clear, focused, specific written piece, you display respect for yourself as a communicator, the message you want to convey, and the receiver of that message. Do you hear Aretha singing?
Editing or rewriting is challenging. It takes attention and time. In this age of instant gratification, we want and expect things to happen immediately by clicking a key on our computers or entering a password at the ATM machine. In texts and tweets, we are witnessing a breakdown of language; however as a writer, editor and writing coach, I would argue that now it is more important than ever to communicate clearly, effectively and truthfully.
Good writing is powerful; the better we are able to express ourselves, the more we can compel others to consider what we have to say.
With over two decades’ experience in supporting writers of all genres, including fiction, nonfiction, business and educational materials, scripts and memoir, I can assist you in bringing forth your unique voice and contribution. I would be delighted to hear about your project in an initial free consultation and propose ways in which I might help to make your writing sing!