Why Every Editor Should Write

We have previously tackled motivations behind writing, but what if the writer isn’t ‘really’ a writer?  I feel that to be the case with me.  I am no writer, merely an editor who loves words.  However, that has never stopped me.  There is a certain freedom there.  Knowing and accepting that you are merely adapting the craft of another, attempting to see it from every angle, it allows a state of non-inhibition that many writers can never discover.

As the editor, how can we edit a thing that we do not understand?  How can we be expected to rip a thing to shreds without being able to fix the very issues you describe?  I read an interesting book on editing poetry.  It immediately began offering writing exercises.  I was confused at first, but diligently I did the work.  Only after did I begin to see the difficulty in some of the things they would ask you to create.  If you cannot understand the piece enough to re-write it, you cannot understand it enough to critique it.

Writing continually is good for the soul, it keeps the dreamer inside alive and well fed.  As the one with the big red pen, we are far too often cast in the role of the destroyer of dreams, when perhaps all we want is to be carried off on dragons wings, into worlds beyond our own.  It can be difficult to maintain positivity when all day you are asked to take things of beauty and break them down.  Writing allows you to find that world of dreams and get lost for a while.  The escapism helps, not to mention the empathy it gives toward the writers.  One can look at a piece and see it, but until they attempt a re-write, far too often they will only see the surface.

Enjoy your role, editors.  You have the ability, and the excuse to not only improve the writing of others, but by doing so you may improve your own.  You, who read so much in a day, you have ample opportunity to create something beautiful, to challenge yourself and expand your own limits.  Often enough, writers may become complacent within their comfort zone, as the editor, you have no comfort zone, it is everywhere and nowhere at once.  You have the freedom to sit and just write, with no expectation, no limitation.

So editors, write on, if you never stop, neither will the dream.


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