Stop Writing For A Minute And Learn Editing
Because editing your writing on a professional level can change your life.
Yesterday, as I read Brian Rowe’s letter to his publication’s followers, I discovered there was a site called submittable.com, which allows people to submit to magazines easily. I found it as Brian announced that one of his stories had been accepted and will appear in print.
I’ve been struggling with this for some time now. I wanted to submit to magazines and didn’t know where to start. I did see a post on facebook a while ago, suggesting some magazines and listing their send forms or emails. I told myself I would check it out and I lost it.
A short time after I read Brian’s story, I also read Vanessa Torre’s post about Business Insider reaching out to her to syndicate a story.
I’m so happy for both Vanessa and Brian! They work hard and deserve their success.
Somewhere, deep inside, I asked myself when will this happen for me too. Is my writing good enough for venues outside Medium?
No, It’s not my writing. That is not my problem. I knew I had to take a step back. It’s time to evaluate my skill.
Writing A Lot Is Not Enough To Be A Good Writer
I wrote about why people should edit their stories some time ago. That story was a reflection of things I had learned during writing on Medium since I joined in February and the stories that were curated vs. those that were not. Gosh, it’s been six months already.
The points in that story will improve every beginner’s writing in every platform they write in. But that’s in the past. I need to do better than a beginner.
I wrote almost two million words in the last two years alone. That’s mind-blowing even to me.
But, the thing that eludes me is not writing. The conclusion, therefore, is simple: I need to learn to edit my stories. Professionally.
Editing Is Essential
Editing is what turns coal to diamonds. Editing transforms a good piece of writing to perfect. Editing makes a message clearer.
Editing is like raking leaves in the garden. When you get rid of all the excess leaves, you see a well-kept garden.
That’s why I decided to take a step back. I’m not in a competition. All of us have different kinds of experiences. Some have worked in the writing industry, some others, like me, have not. I come from coding. Software Engineering is not about storytelling.
Coding also involves some form of editing. Editing code is how you turn a working piece of code to an efficient one.
If I write more, I will eventually learn to edit my pieces better. Anything you do for a long time becomes something you’re good at.
But if I take a step back now, for a week or even a month, to improve my editing ability, I may produce pieces of a higher quality and impact.
I’m Only Competing With Yesterday
Every day people advance even a little bit in their journey. I mean, I’ve already seen some success from my writing. I interviewed someone I never thought I would and learned a whole lot from him, I got two significant publications to publish my articles, and I got my articles distributed in Medium topics dozens of times.
And still, there is something in me that says I’m not doing enough. That part of me that keeps on looking at other people’s lawns when the only one concerning me is my own.
I’m only competing with yesterday because any other competition is irrelevant.
Yesterday I knew how to edit my stories based on my experiences.
Tomorrow, or perhaps in a week, I’ll know how to edit my stories professionally.
After reading this story, you may have come to terms with something you want to improve in your life. Don’t hesitate. Perfecting our skills increases our value — both in our own eyes and in others.
Make yourself an asset that people can’t ignore.