How to Edit your Life and Business

Posted by martin.parnell |

Over the past few weeks, I have been busy revising the manuscript, of my next book RUNNING TO THE EDGE. I could call it editing, but my publisher has a professional to do that for me. It’s a peculiar process, removing parts that you no longer think are relevant, and having your memory jogged into adding something you missed, first, or even second time around. 

Getting sections back from the editor is strange, too. She will ask questions about things that, as the writer, you may think are obvious, but have to be explained in more detail in order that your potential reader can properly follow a train of thought or recounting of an incident. Things that you might think are relevant can be totally removed and yet parts that you might have been pondering over whether to include, or not, can become, from someone else’s perspective, essential to the text. 

It’s a bit like life.  We’ve all experienced incidents that, at the time might appear to have a huge effect on your well-being, your standing within your group, your job, family etc.

Yet, in the grand scheme of things are actually rather trivial and you have probably spent too much time and effort dwelling on them. I looked at the work some editors carry out and it’s interesting to see the role they play, in various areas of the process:

A copy/ manuscript editor ensures that the manuscript meets in-house style standards and checks facts. We might look to ensure that our standards meet those of our employer or someone engaging our skills. We should always check that the facts we present are accurate, in order to make ourselves credible. 

A developmental editor helps the idea stage through to the final draft. We should formulate and plan our ideas and what strategies we will use to implement them. 

A substantive editor helps the writer focus on story elements, plot characterization, dialogue, scenes and multiple other aspects that could improve the strength of a manuscript and, in non- fiction ensures that there is consistency and flow, with events flowing logically. They examine both the big picture and the finer details. These are all skills we need to engage if we are to see a project through, successfully, from start to finish.

Basically, an editor is an enhancer, polishing and refining, directing focus and essentially removes what does not fit, what has no bearing on the finished article and draws attention to areas where the audience should focus. 

These are all skills we can use to tackle tasks and provide positive, rewarding outcomes in the way we approach life and business. 

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