The art of paring away, of subtraction, this is editing. Like someone who carves wood or clay, sometimes the ultimate result of creative work comes from a process of taking away, rather than adding to, slowly revealing the final product in reverse. It is creation through reduction.
Most people think of editing related to writing. If you have ever written an essay, short story or even a novel, it is likely that the total number of words you composed was far greater than the number that was finally published. You probably hired an editor or relied on trusted friends or relatives to read through your work at different stages to help you refine and to know what to take out. This can be a brutal process.
Editing is more than simply proofreading, the latter being mere correction of spelling and grammar errors in the text. Editing could involve moving or removing large blocks of text, rewording segments or even cutting whole storylines of they do not contribute adequately to the furtherance of the overarching plot. This is often very difficult to do by oneself.
I know I am a terrible editor, not just of my writing, but also of others’, and in all other areas of my life as well. Editing as a process of cutting out excess can really apply to all kinds of things. At the moment, I am struggling with the need to edit my podcast feed because there are not enough hours in the day for listening and keeping up with all I would like to be. Since I am such a podcast addict, it is difficult for me to “say goodbye” to any of the shows I listen to regularly, especially when I feel so attached to the hosts and the topics.
But my listening habits have been impinging on my creative time; I cannot write about what I hear in my daily podcast feed if the podcast feed is taking up my creative time as well. One cannot truly receive input and create output at the same time. There must be a balance and therefore I must edit my list. Perfectly good podcasts that provide me with valuable information will need to be eliminated, not necessarily permanently, but for now, so I can catch up and take the time to consider what’s happening and write about it in real time because that is really my skill and interest at this time. I have been falling behind. The firehose of information has kept me silent.
Once I edit my podcast “inbox,” maybe I’ll get on a roll and do the same in my home. I have a week off between Christmas and New Years so I may dedicate some time to editing in my home as well.
How do you feel about editing yourself, your writing or other creations or your stuff? Is it something that is easy for you or does it require a special mindset? Is it a part of your everyday or is editing a scheduled event? Have you ever hired an editor, either for a writing project, or a “home editor,” a.k.a. someone to assist in decluttering/ organizing your home? Share in comments if you like, or just ponder on your own.