In 2015, an email landed in my inbox from a business community I belong to, asking me to vote for my favourite small businesses and individual entrepreneurs from what I’d seen over the course of the year.
I went through ticking boxes for best mentor, best newcomer, best agency and then I stopped…
On the next list of names was my own.
I checked back to the category.
BEST CREATIVE BUSINESS
I’ve long known that what I do day-to-day is creative. But honestly, I didn’t think anyone else realised that. Because of the old cliché that I hear all the time.
Editors are all about fixing your grammar, right?
I’ve lost track of the hilarious typo memes I’ve been tagged in. And while I do have a bit of a giggle at some questionable grammar slip-ups, mostly I treat it as a pretty low key aspect of what I do.
To be honest, grammar isn’t the sexiest part of my job. It’s not even a particularly interesting aspect.
Banging on about grammar peeves just doesn’t sell. Grammar is a fact of life and necessary part of language to make ourselves understood. And yet, I’d much rather be focusing on the fun stuff in my own business and writing.
Editing is so much more than grammar.
And being nominated for an award confirmed to me that other people out there could see it to. Others could see that editing is a creative pursuit.
So, what else does editing mean, if it’s not all about grammar?
- Choosing words that evoke more feeling in the reader
- Sensing the emotion of the writer’s story and checking in: is this how the writer wants the reader to feel?
- Seeking other ways of expression to carry the message across the void between sender and receiver
- Drawing more solid, specific connections and conclusions from vague connections
- Filling the gaps where an idea is not fully expressed
- Being ruthless in cutting back and tightening up ideas that are too fluffy or repetitive, where the writer is too close and overly attached to the words
- Rearranging ideas to create more clarity
Do those sound analytical to you?
Are they the structural engineering of words…
…or are they language art, word flow, communication play?
Editing does cross the Ts and dot the Is, but the accuracy part is a means to an end. The rest is creative, intuitive, emotional.
Yes, editing is a kind of analysis, but it’s one that draws on intuition and an understanding of human connection and emotion.
Because while language is necessarily structured and guided by rules, communication is meaningless without people on either side of the message.