Sunday, November 11, 2007

Writing and Editing

A writer should not be an editor at the same time, but at a different time, that may be fine.

I am not saying a writer cannot be an editor, or vice versa. The key emphasis here is time, or the proximity of time between the two roles being played. If you are writer for a piece of work, you cannot be an editor for the same piece of work immediately after writing the piece because the same blind spot you as a writer faces during writing will also be unseen and unrecognized by you as the editor.

A writer can edit his own work, but it is best to have someone else does it, especially when there is a constraint of time. If a writer has to be the editor for the same piece of work, then a break or an interval is imperative between the time of completing the writing and the starting of the editing. The writer must, within the interval, free his mind from the pressures, prejudices, and the intensity inherent in a writing environment or during writing, and prepare himself at heart and mind for editing.

One of the best ways of freeing one's mind between the two roles is to go away to a place where nature is visible, where noisy sounds are far away. However, this is not always possible, so an alternative is to get oneself away from the previous piece of work and do something else, preferably less stressful, and then return with a refreshed or renewed mind. Whether you are a writer or an editor, or both, it is always good to have a break between writing and editing.

However, if taking a break is not possible, the best way to perform the two roles consecutively is to write one piece and edit a different piece. Usually, the different piece is written by someone else, and that helps to clear one's mind off from one's own work. There is no conflict in this case between playing the role of a writer and an editor at the same time, since both the pieces are written by different people, and to edit and spot the mistakes in the writings of another is usually relatively easier. However, if this again is not possible, editing a different piece written by oneself is still better than editing one's own piece of work immediately upon completion.

Following the above arguments, a writer can therefore be an editor, and vice versa.