My usual procedure when writing an article, after all my research is done, is to sit down with a pen and legal pad and start writing. I’m hoping that I’ve absorbed enough material that the ideas will flow down onto the paper in coherent and practical sentences. I’m a professional. Writing is my career; so all my work should be polished and perfect from the beginning, right? Wrong!
While just composing the above sentences, I’ve crossed out, inserted, and tweaked each one. Although the intent is to deliver a message or piece of interesting information, that goal takes time, determination, and self-editing. No one can write a perfect paragraph. Sure, we can come close, but a true professional will know that each line must be carefully reviewed, looking for clarity, creativity, and craftsmanship.
Does self-editing ever get easier? I’d like to think so. After writing many, many stories and articles, it’s much easier for me to trim and recompose and restructure. Perhaps, too, I’m more comfortable with the process as it’s now a natural part of my writing from first draft to final manuscript.
Will I ever be perfect at writing? I doubt it, but that’s where the editors will come in later. My job is to deliver the most professional manuscript I can possibly turn out, and that takes looking at my work with a critical eye.
Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio