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Why Edit?

Why Edit?

Author: Mackenzie W

Understand the purpose of editing.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, everyone. I'm Mackenzie, and today we're learning about why editing matters. Have you ever heard the expression change is good? In this tutorial, we'll learn about the definition of editing. We'll discuss an explanation of what editing includes, and we'll take a look at famous authors' perspectives toward editing and style.

We'll begin by discussing the definition of editing. When I say editing, I'm talking about improving or enhancing a piece of writing by changing, adding to, or taking away sentences, word choices, and the overall style of the writing itself.

Now that we know what editing is, let's discuss what editing includes. Sometimes inexperienced writers become confused when it comes to the revising, editing, and proofreading stages of the writing process. It should be made clear that editing is not the same thing as revising. Revising is when we revisit and we rethink what we've written in the paper in regard to our ideas, our organization, our support.

Editing is not revisiting what we've written. Editing is also not proofreading. Proofreading is when we find tiny mistakes throughout the writing such as spelling, punctuation, grammar, mechanics, even formatting, and we change those small mistakes.

Editing is its own specific stage in the writing process. This is when we're looking at not exactly what we've written, but how we've written it. One way to think about editing is to think about the style of the paper. It's not what the paper says. It's how it sounds.

We have ideas that we've written. And now we're trying to make those ideas sound a certain way. That's the style of the writing. And when we edit, we're focusing on the style of what we've written.

It's best to separate the revising, editing, and proofreading stages of the writing process. Focus on them individually to make them stronger. You can combine all of them when you're working on a piece of writing, and sometimes writers will find that helpful. But we do have to take a moment to step back and look at each separate stage individually so that we make sure that we're revising, editing, and proofreading effectively.

We just discussed the idea that editing means changing the readability of a paper, making ideas sound better. Let's now look at some quotations by some famous authors regarding their perspective toward editing and, more specifically, editing for style.

We'll begin with a quotation from the famous American poet Allen Ginsberg who says, "to gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard." What he's saying here is that to focus on your own true personal style of writing, you have to stop thinking about how other people are going to interpret and focus on how it is that you want your writing to sound. Otherwise, your writing won't come across as genuine.

Next, famous American novelist Jack Kerouac tells us, "it ain't whatcha write, it's the way atcha write it." Even in such a short quotation, this author is communicating to us in two separate ways. First, he's telling us that it doesn't matter what the ideas are. What really matters is the way that we communicate those ideas. And he's actually demonstrating that through his own style and voice. Using words like "ain't," "whatcha," and "atcha" communicate a certain style of writing, and that's the point he's trying to make.

And lastly, famous American crime writer Lawrence Block tells us, "one thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I'm going to do my 5 or 10 pages no matter what, and that I can always tear them up the following morning if I want. I'll have lost nothing-- writing and tearing up five pages would leave me no further behind than if I took the day off."

This author is focusing on the importance of revising. He's telling us that if we want to improve or enhance our writing, it's OK to take things out. The great thing about the writing process is that it is flexible, just like he's discussing. And editing helps us to add to that flexibility. These famous American authors help us to understand why editing and editing for style more specifically is so important for our own writing.

In this tutorial, we learned about the definition of editing. We discussed an explanation of what editing includes, and we looked at the perspectives of famous authors regarding editing and style. Change is good. I'm Mackenzie. Thanks for listening.

Notes on "Why Edit?"

(00:00 - 00:30) Introduction

(00:31 - 00:52) Definition of Editing

(00:53 - 02:30)Explanation of Editing

(02:31 - 04:42) Famous Authors’ Perspective toward Editing and Style

(04:43 - 05:04) Summary

Terms to Know

Improving the sentences, word choices, and overall style of an essay or other piece of writing.