Loss and Recovery

Posted on September 13, 2011

Since entering the world of professional writing, I’ve learned the value of a good editor. I have two who do a wonderful job maximizing the power and reach of my writing. Both are more knowledgeable about the “world” of professional writing than I, so if I’m wise, I’ll listen to their counsel. They get the “big picture” much better than I do in my own little content niche.

This isn’t about writing per se. It’s about our common “copy editor” who also has just a bit more knowledge about the “big picture” than do we in our own little corner of life. From the time we are able to string together thoughts, we humans write stories. When we were kids, we probably had a couple dozen or so stories of “possible futures.” They were neatly recorded on the pages of our mind and generally involved some common themes: education, career, marriage, kids, grandkids, retirement… although few of us could bear to write that final chapter of our narrative.

As we grow older, life choices and events start to delete some of our narratives. When those are by our choice, we usually don’t have any problem putting them in the trash; but when the choice isn’t ours, the grief associated with the Great Copy Editor sending the story back to us can be difficult to deal with.

Yes, the truth is sometimes my life narrative doesn’t play out as I’ve written it. Dealing with job loss, divorce, my kids’ choices, death of loved ones… none of these events were in my original drafts. Were they in yours?

When these events happen, we’re faced with a “rewrite.” The Editor has seen something in our work that could be better and has asked us to formulate a new story. Initially, my challenge is to get past my anger and disappointment. How dare he send this back to me! I knew what I was doing.  Now he’s gone and marked it all up. I’ve got to start over.

It’s painful to face that reality, but it’s all part of the process of writing a great story. I have to be mindful that my Editor is intimately connected to me and knows the needs for my audience.

Are you in daily contact with your Editor, seeking his feedback on your story? Are you willing to hear him when he sends it back for changes?

Chuck Chapman, LMFTA

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==