It takes a great deal of courage to take something you’ve written, that rough draft of shit, basically, and to look at its merits. It’s like looking in the mirror really. And this time you’re looking for stuff that doesn’t work.
And so we say: “Well, gosh, my arms don’t look as toned as I’d like and my stomach looks pooched, and look, I have the ugliest knees, nose, ears . . .”
But to edit what you write, you have to look. But look past the obvious flaws.
Your train of thought will not always be clear.
You will go off on tangents often.
You will use commas incorrectly.
You will tend to skim the surface of an idea rather than actually dig into it.
What you are writing is not always a thesis.
Sometimes you need to just skim.
Don’t add commas when you breathe; there will be too many.
Just use spell check; resist the urge to run the thesaurus tool.
Don’t panic if you get something wrong.
Everything can be fixed.
Often, everything needs to be fixed.
Editing is saying publicly that you are not perfect. It is saying publicly that what you are doing is worth the time and effort. It is saying publicly that you believe you have something to say and that most of the time how you say it often doesn’t work the first time.
Take courage. Take another look. Be brave.