Do you remember what the editing process consisted of back in high school? Or middle school? Or just anytime that didn’t involve collegiate coursework? Does that time in history still exist to you?
It took me a long time to decide on my journalism emphasis area. It was a toss-up between Magazine Writing and Magazine Editing. Sure, I like writing and know I need coursework and instruction and advice to make my writer’s voice clearer and stronger. But when it came down to it, I recalled what it’s been like for me to go through the editing process.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling especially unmotivated, I absolutely abhor it. There are some instances where I know that I haven’t made the clearest of statements but it’s been a long day and can’t I just leave it as it is just this once because I’m tired?
No. That luxury rarely exists.
But really, what I remember most is how much I like going through a piece of writing, finding what works and what doesn’t, tweaking it until it flows well and gets the point across. I really like helping someone go through their ideas when they know it may not be as polished as it could be (I know for sure that anything I write without someone else looking it over is probably, at best, a jumbled mess. Take a look at this blog, for instance…). I like that people have asked me to look over their work to see what they didn’t, catch what they couldn’t, offer suggestions they don’t have themselves.
Even back in grade school, peer revision days meant that I would spend twice as long looking over my peer review partner’s work than they would over mine. It’s not that I thought their work was bad, it’s just that I I had a lot of questions about what they could elaborate. Plus, I’ve generally been pretty good at spelling. Before spell check, that would be a lot of my correction marks. So there’s that.
Conversely, sometimes I would get unhelpful comments like “Nice work!” or “Looks good!” with no suggestions for improvement. NOTE: There is always room for improvement. All of the writing I did for my English class during junior year of high school came back with few corrective marks, the most of which were typing errors like saying “off” instead of “of.” Thanks a bunch, I learned lot. Was I really that clear in my writing that absolutely nothing needed a second glance? No constructive criticism necessary because I covered everything there needed to be said? Unlikely.
What I’m getting at is that I really like editing, and seeing others’ feedback.
That being said, I AM SO TIRED OF WORKING ON MY CURRENT BEAT STORY AND I JUST WANT IT TO END. I’ve been editing and looking it over and getting additional interview information for the past few days and I kind of just want to stop. I know that my editor has way more experience and that her suggestions are just calling out the holes in my story I knew were there the first time around anyway. I know that I needed to include more detail, but I just wasn’t sure as to what extent. I feel like my words are being pulled out and morphed into something that doesn’t sound like my writing anymore. Is it really something I’ve created anymore?
Even during the editing process of my first general assignment fire story, the end product ended up being completely different from my original skeleton of an article. Again, I know that it’s necessary because I’m still a novice at reporting and I need to learn from experienced writers how to deliver the news in an effective way.
But man, is it rough.
At this point, I’m both anticipating and dreading what my feedback will be for this (hopefully-close-to-final) edit.