Editing is something that I did constantly when I used to be an editor-in-chief of an online food publication, especially when I was working my way up the ranks. Editing, in the context of writing, is an important tool that we use to take a rough draft and bring it into something more presentable. We need it for essays, speeches, and interviews. Editing can also refer to self-improvement. We edit ourselves as human beings to make ourselves closer to who we want to be, either appearance-wise, personality-wise, or in terms of intellect or career.
In terms of editing and why we need it, it can be used as a tool to improve ourselves. Every night, before I go to sleep, I try to think about three things I could have done better that day. It could be “oh, I could have helped that old lady across the street” or “maybe I should have helped that guy who was lost and needed directions.” In that sense, editing does make you a better person. But never let that need to constantly improve become a self-loathing habit. It has happened to me where I started to dislike myself for doing things a certain way.
Unfortunately, I do not really edit my posts for this blog. This blog is a chance for me to truly express myself, raw emotions and all. I don’t want to have to dumb down or touch up my writing and be somebody I am not.
The idea of editing to me, it reminds me of this need for things to be done, written, or portrayed in a certain way. There’s this sort of need for perfection that editing allows us to meet. Essays, dishes, interview responses, even the way we act and portray ourselves, through editing, we can make those things that much closer to being our own idea of perfect. But, and this might be a bit rough to hear, is there really perfection? Editing should be less about trying to reach a certain bar, and more about making you feel more comfortable with who you are and what makes you happy.
Excessive or constant editing can prevent us from being who we really are or just loving ourselves. When we edit ourselves, we try to hide or change up our own self-perceived flaws. We try to be who we think the other person wants or perceives us to be. I get that we need to do that for interviews, just because those are short encounters where first impressions are important, but in real life, do we need to edit? Knowing what is a good change, and when to make a change, that’s the key to being feather-light.