Different Kinds of Happy

Editing

Some ramblings from my journal the last time I camped out at a coffee shop …

Is the desire to edit in pursuit of perfection a good writing habit? As I thumb through my journal, it’s obvious I have a strong preference for pencil over pen. Heaven forbid I choose a word that can’t be erased, permanent in this Moleskine until the world is consumed in fire or time fades the print from the peering eyes of … who will ever even read these pages? The only comfort in keeping a blog is the backspace key, a plastic security blanket that can eliminate awkward syntax, embarrassingly misspelled words, etc. (much less abrasive than ink scribbles and lines through words and phrases that didn’t make the cut.)

Don’t get me wrong. I know there’s something to be said for pruning in the creative process. Even practically speaking, editing has its place. The apostle James talks about the power of words to harm and help. Controlling our tongues or pens by editing what we choose to say is often wise. I can’t remember how many times I’ve been grateful I rehearsed words in my head before saying only half of them to someone, and who knows the capacity of junky wordage I swept off of essays in college alone.

But I think I can take editing too far if fear motivates me instead of a desire to simply make something good, something that serves readers and helps me understand life better. Perfectionism is often shrugged off as an almost commendable weakness, but in reality, it can paralyze. Editing has its place and we’d be sloppy craftsmen of words, music, or anything to neglect it. Lord help me cultivate a more balanced approach to editing so my creativity looks a little more like the flung galaxies than a styrofoam solar system project at a science fair.

And now I’m going to publish this post before I read it twelve times and make insignificant changes…

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This entry was published on December 5, 2013 at 3:54 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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