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Writing is a Collaborative Medium

For the second time in my life, I have the privilege of getting paid for my writing, and it feels spectacular. This time, though, I have help and that makes a huge difference.

If you ever have the opportunity to have someone edit your writing, take advantage of it. I wish I could say that what ends up getting posted by the company I write for is 100% mine, but that would be a lie. Every time that my editor makes a change to my work, it really is an improvement. She almost always changes my titles. Sometimes she'll change a word or phrasing, strike a sentence, add a subheading, or rearrange or restructure paragraphs. It really helps to have someone independent make your work better.

Guidance towards finding your voice is another great benefit of working with/for an editor. I had either pitched or submitted an early piece, and she sent it back to me. She pointed out that I was writing like a sales person, and they already have those. They wanted me for my insights and experiences as an engineer. An editor helps you focus on your value.

Having to pitch a topic forces you to find a compelling subject, but I also appreciate being trusted to tackle a crazy idea, sometimes without a clear sense of direction. For example, the Super Bowl coin toss has always fascinated me; I'd like to analyze it. I'm a big fan of Star Trek, and I'd like to dork out analyze warp travel as if it were real.

Much of writing is a solitary act - staring at a computer screen trying to find something to say that is of value to another person. People are naturally resistant to being corrected. But if you can get past that defensiveness, you will develop as a writer and your work will get sharper.


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