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Are you sure you're Editing?

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You know how, when you’re writing something, you go over it time and again, re-reading, changing and cutting it? Some people love this process and find it energising. Others get confused feel it’s a kind of required self-censorship which drags flights of fancy down to earth. 

“Editing” and “doing an edit” are terms sometimes used for this process, in writers’ groups, masterclasses and on social media. But, in my view, choosing a different term might be helpful.

First things first. 

The primary definition of “edit” is “to prepare written material for publication”. Secondary definitions are “be editor of (a newspaper or magazine) – eg ‘he edited the New Yorker’”, and, as a noun, “a change or correction made as a result of editing – eg ‘the edits required considerable time’.” 

So, here are some thoughts.

1/ Unless you’re certain that what you’re writing WILL BE and IS READY TO BE, published, it’s actually not appropriate to think about “editing” it.

2/ Unless you’re in charg…