Why I Edit
29 August 2013
It occurred to me that I haven’t discussed editing much here. That ends now.
I’ve discovered within the last year that editing is something I enjoy and do well. It seems odd to me because I’m a software engineer by day. I’m supposed to hate writing and words, aren’t I?
Here’s the thing, though. I like communicating; I think it’s one of the best skills a person can learn. Language is how we discuss, educate, relate to those around us. It gives us a way to express everything from a satisfying meal to a profound awe of the beautiful universe we inhabit. It even helps us put words to intangible concepts and complex emotions. Without it, we truly are islands, alone and adrift.
This is why I edit. Taking someone else’s words and ensuring it communicates what the author intended is fun for me. It is a small measure of reinforcing a semblance of order in a strange existence. Seeing a document (of any type) that communicates effectively is a wondrous and useful thing. Don’t believe me? When’s the last time you tried to assemble a piece of furniture using crappy directions? Or tried to troubleshoot a problem with a piece of software? How about a passage in a book that cuts straight to your heart, revealing your innermost thoughts perfectly?
My job as an editor encompasses all these. Taking a document that handles confusing terms and detailed technical subjects with aplomb and ease? Editing. Honing a wordy text so that its words are precise and accurate? Editing. Making a fictional world evoke the strongest imagery it can? Editing.
It’s not a glamorous job; it’s not even a well-paying job. It is a necessary job, and it’s one I enjoy and will do more of.