The Art of Editing

When I was in college, I combined majors in history and business, which necessitated a lot of writing. The professors began classes by asking that students write a minimum number of formatted pages for each assignment. After the first few, the professor then implemented a page limit. I tried not to take it personally, but I did notice a pattern. More was not always better.

Thus my love-hate relationship with editing began in earnest. And now, I think of editing as a more encompassing task and valuable talent, because I don’t see it limited to writing. Sure, we edit copy for an ad, content for a blog post, speeches or videos for length, or even these articles to match the attention span of the reader. But I am now very aware that editing is something you must do in your life overall.

Identifying which stories need to be told. Selecting the right things to focus on. Making each word and each moment of the day the highest impact possible. Taking out everything extraneous so that the important things can be achieved.

Just like editing, it is easier said than done. You’d think it would be easier to strike words from sentences or sentences from paragraphs than it was to write them in the first place, but anyone who has done it knows it is not true. Just like curation makes the museum collection, so does editing make the writer. 

And in life, editing is hard. But worthwhile.  

This article was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.