Editing Your Perspective

A different perspectiveIn your role as self-editor, the challenge is seeing your own words from a different angle. To regurgitate the final line of yesterday's post, one of the tasks before you is shifting your own perspective just enough to bring into focus the individual trees in your own forest of words.

Time is always a good shifter of perception, so doing something else for a while is a good way to regain perspective. Sleeping on it is best, but even a few minutes away from the writing can be a luxury when time is of the essence. A more practical method—and one that works for me, mostly—is a brief immersion in another's words; reading something having a completely different voice than my own has a realigning effect. If I happen to be writing or editing something having a decidedly logical slant—an article on Electronics, for example—a good antidote would be writing of a more conversational, creative character. In other words, an opposite.

Opposites may attract in the overall scheme of things, but when it comes to altering one's thought process, opposites can also have a nice balancing effect. If your mind has been occupied in the linear realm, feeding it a nonlinear antidote may restore equilibrium more quickly than, say, taking a nap, or otherwise relying on the passage of time. On the other hand, if you've been working with poetry or something similarly creative, immersing yourself in logic for a time may shift the thought process just enough to see your writing from a new vantage point.

At the extreme, programming or mathematical equations make ideal counterweights for the creative-writing crowd, although I haven't run across too many creative types who enjoy that sort of thing. There are exceptions, of course. For those involved in technical or business writing, activities like painting and music—or poetry within the writing sphere—would be likely candidates for the counterbalancing job. In the real world of deadlines and other pressures there may not be the time nor the inclination to resort to such extremes, but the concept of right- versus left-brain pursuits can be used to the self-editor's advantage nonetheless. Until you can get someone else to do it for you, editing and proofing your own writing is probably just going to be one of those unavoidable chores.


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