Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Importance of Editing

This may be a controversial, politically incorrect statement, but we are not all equal. On the contrary, we should celebrate our differences.
Of course I’d like to subscribe to the contemporary obsession for levelling every playing field and turning us all into socially successful, wealthy, talented, beautiful ‘individuals’ with perfect teeth and figures. But look around you. For some of us, all we need to do is look in a mirror.
I learned early in life to recognise my own strengths and weaknesses, more or less. Yes, it was disappointing. I would never be a straight A student in every subject. I wasn’t the most popular girl in the class. So winning a Novel Prize for scientific prowess, or being paid for smiling at a camera, weren’t for me. It’s just not true that anyone can achieve what they aspire to, with enough dedication and passion.
I’m not arguing against dedication or passion. Far from it. You can get a long way on self belief and enthusiasm.
But the pursuit of success isn’t always easy. We can expect to weather a few setbacks along the way. Yet primary school teachers no longer talk about ‘trial and error’. It is ‘trial and improvement’ because we cannot allow children to perceive themselves as capable of making mistakes.
As Albert Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” What’s so terrible about the odd blunder or two? And how are children ever going to cope as adults if we bring them up to expect they will go through life without ever ‘getting it wrong’?
The same applies to writers. If you want to produce a successful book, you should be open to criticisms and suggestions. Whether or not you agree, and decide to follow them, is your choice.
I have no particular allegiance to the traditional publishing model, although it has worked very well for me. We can all think of examples of excellent and shoddy books brought out both by traditional publishers, and self-published. But one major benefit of following the traditional route is that manuscripts are professionally edited and proof read before publication.
We don’t want to see people put off reading because they come across carelessly written books. With so many leisure activities available, this matters more than ever before.

For details of how to submit your writing for editing, email leighrusselledits@hotmail.co.uk

10 comments:

Val said...

Excellent, I could use an editor every time I turn around !!!

Rick said...

Wow, Leigh! Well said.

Leigh Russell said...

I know what you mean, Val. A good editor is worth their weight in gold.

Leigh Russell said...

Glad you agree, Rick.

Charles Gramlich said...

Absolutely, and yet so many folks don't seem to care about it. It's frustrating

Leigh Russell said...

Indeed, Charles. Writing is fun, but it is also hard work!

Guillaume said...

I strongly believe in editing and "traditional" means of publication. A writer needs a distanced perspective on his work.

BernardL said...

So many of the bad comments given books on Amazon, mostly self published, have to do with editing errors. The reader was put off from the story completely by editing errors, and didn't address the plot-line of the book at all. You're right. Editing makes and breaks a book.

Leigh Russell said...

You're right, Guillaume. I'm not sure it's even possible to 'distance' yourself from your own writing for a while after writing it. I find it very difficult, when I know the manuscript so well.

Leigh Russell said...

And even with some traditionally published books, Bernard. It's shocking, but true. The fact is, it's not easy. Editing and proof reading are both very demanding skills and absolutely essential. Long live pedants!