on putting on your editor hat

For our November Create.Compose.Communicate theme, Melissa and I chose “put on your editor hat.” The word “editor” is a loaded one for certain.

High school was the first season in my life when I thought I might someday amount to something. It was the first season in my life where I felt this little twinge of self-esteem. One reason? The school newspaper. It was called the Devil’s Advocate, after our school’s mascot, the devil. (Pretty bad-ass, right?)

First, I was a writer. More than just my English teacher and my immediate family read what I wrote, so I considered it a victory. As a junior, I was the co-editor of the Opinion section. And as a senior, I was the editor in chief.

Being the editor in chief taught me so many things. Many were leadership-oriented, like showing appreciation for others on your team and collaborating with people different from you.

And then there was the actual editing of things. For one, I learned to live and breathe grammar. I learned to find errors and fix them quickly. Good grammar, I learned, built credibility. Who would trust what we said if it was littered with typos and misspellings?

But editing, friends, is so much bigger than grammar.

Editing is flow. Editing is tone. Editing is accuracy and clarity and authenticity. Editing is style and vibe. Editing is audience.

Editing matters because communication matters. Communication can divide or unify (see also: election season). Communication can shatter or build bridges. Communication is how we build community and relationship and take strides forward. Given all of this, it makes sense that we should put our best foot forward. Much is at stake whenever we communicate, and we owe it to ourselves and our audience to do it well.

Furthermore, editing matters because you matter.

When you edit, you get the chance to put forth your best efforts, your best thoughts and your best contributions. What you say is significant, because you are significant.

Whether you fancy yourself a writer or far from it, we invite you to join us this month as we explore what it means to edit well. Melissa and I can’t wait to share tips and tricks and checklists and ideas, all with the goal of making what you say the best it can be. So get that editor hat on with us, and get on with the communicating.

If you haven’t signed up for the {free} Create.Compose.Communicate weekly newsletter, be sure to sign up today. Our first edition of the new month goes out tomorrow, November 1.

Melissa is also sharing why editing matters to her, over on her blog, Inspiration & Rough Drafts!

(And PS, happy Halloween! I’m listening to Thriller, Monster Mash and Ghostbusters on repeat today. Now that’s a work-from-home perk if I do say so myself.)

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