Thursday, September 20, 2012

Editing fool.

Yesterday I spotted a typo on my blog post after it had published earlier in the morning. I wrote the post a week ago, and spent several days going over it, re-writing a section, and tweaking others. Yet still, it had an error... and parts I wish I had written tighter. Some blogs I follow are written so eloquently, I wonder if they have a real editor.

Editing my own writing is tough enough, but tougher is the task of editing other's writings. Last year a friend asked me to edit his essays required for admittance into a Master's program. He was born in Africa, but raised mostly in Portugal, and has only lived in the United States a few years. It was difficult to edit his writing and yet keep his unique voice shining through. (I was soooo relieved when he was accepted. If he had been denied, I would have wondered if my editing hindered his chances.)

My husband started a blog in May 2011, but I only recently began editing his posts. Titled "Medicine Simply Put," he explains and defines medical conditions in simple terms and humorous ways. His writing style is a mixture of "doctor-ese," dictation (omitting pronouns, for instance), and morbid sense of humor. I don't want my corrections to sterilize his distinct style.

But I digress. Back to my own blog edits. I wish I had a real editor, and can't help but think of a Ben Franklin quote, "He that teaches himself has a fool for a master." Does that translate into, "She who edits her own posts has a fool for an editor?"

Maybe I am an editing fool. Before posting his very first blog entry, my husband asked me to read it. I gave some pointers on what needed clarified or written in simpler terms (not medical jargon), and told him, "You need to write in such a way that any nincompoop can understand."

He responded, "That's why I had you read it."

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