I haven’t always known how to edit. I have a master’s degree in English lit, but my education did not prepare me for my career as an editor. No, I learned to edit afterwards, on the job. My process is one of many, I’m sure, but I want to tell you about it. It sheds some light on what I’m seeking from this blog, I think.
Before I begin to edit something, I try to learn from the writer what they expect in the final product. I gather the appropriate style guide, dictionary, and any other reference materials. I find a quiet place to work uninterrupted. I take a moment to clear my mind and focus on my work. For me, editing is almost meditative. I need to completely focus on the writing, turning each word, each phrase, over in my mind to ascertain its meaning and clarity. I try to make my queries objective, to be minimally invasive in the writing.
When I edit, I pay complete attention to the writing in front of me. The words become the most important thing in the world to me, if only for the brief time that I am editing them. I seek to understand the words, in the smallest sense – of spelling, punctuation – to the largest – of theme and message. As an editor, I care more about being present for the writing than about changing it in any essential way.
So, edit me: Read my words. Give them your undivided attention. Offer me your constructive criticism or your compliments. Am I who I think I am? Or, as I suspect, is there more to me than that?
I’m glad that you’re here. I’m new to blogging, and I love seeing more and more readers here, reading the words I’ve written. I like sharing my stories and thoughts. Every new comment gives me a rush. For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m doing exactly what I want to do when I want to do it.
You ought to try it too. In fact, why don’t you try it right now. Stop reading my blog. Close your laptop. Put your phone away. And go do something that you really want to do.
Close your eyes for a moment and think it over. What do you really want to be doing right now? Maybe its something that you think you can’t do, shouldn’t do. Maybe what you think you want to do is really something that you’re doing to please someone else. Maybe you think what you want to do is a waste of time or money, or maybe you think you can’t because you might fail. Maybe what you want to do might hurt someone else.
You may have valid reasons for not doing what you want to do right now.
Now, stop thinking about those reasons. Try to limit your thinking as much as you possibly can. Just go do what you want. Try it. It feels amazing, I promise.
Then come back and tell me about it, please.
1. Decide that you want to find God in Hawaii, especially if you think you can’t or won’t.
2. Pack light. Trust that Hawaii will provide what you need. DO bring lots of snacks and water.
3. Buy a good travel guide. I trust that you can find the one that’s right for you.
4. Fly to Hawaii. All the while, hope that this trip is as good as you think it’s going to be.
5. When you arrive, look around. You are here! Isn’t it beautiful, even at the airport? Take a deep breath. Hawaii smells so good.
6. Get a rental car that can do all you want to do on your island.
7. Start driving, and look for a place to eat along the way. If you need groceries, stop along the way to get what you need.
8. Drive to your resting place, trusting that you will find your destination without getting too lost.
9. Sleep, and try not to let the roosters keep you awake.
10. Set out on your day in Hawaii, ready for anything that the island has in store for you. Maybe let the kids decide what they want to do, since they are usually very good at finding God. And if you are not sure what to do, follow the locals. They know.
Do you have any kids?
I need you to want to help me.
I want you to be able to trust me, that I will ask for help if I need it.
I am suggestible. Work with me to develop the positive. Ask me what’s right. I will ask you about the negative when I’m ready to talk about it.
I don’t want you to diagnose me. Symptoms are just signs of me not understanding my feelings. Symptoms are not signs of illness. If I’m doing something unhealthy repeatedly, it’s only because I haven’t realized that it’s unhealthy yet. I need you to teach me that it’s not healthy. Teach me. Telling me makes me angry. Instead, try letting me read it in a textbook or a journal. Or a novel with a character with those symptoms. I’ll never fault the messenger if I can see the message as something separate. I know that you know what you know. I respect that. But I need to learn it for myself.
And I really need you to be patient with me. I want to be well. It’s what I want most in life. It’s what I’d never sacrifice, trade, bargain on, or have stolen from me. I will fight to be well until the day I die. What’s more, I want everyone else to be well, too.
So please, please don’t diagnose me.
I believe that when you ask the right questions, the universe will offer answers, like breadcrumbs leading to the gingerbread house of self-awareness.
I am asking for inspiration. I want to see. I want to think. I want to feel. I want to experience.
Inspire me, please, universe. Let me hear from you, please, readers.
Tell me what you are thinking about. Send me photos, send me articles. Send me jokes. Let me see what I can make of it. Let me produce what I can. Then, please, universe, please, challenge me. Edit me.