What makes editing so important anyway?
I’m glad you asked.
The writing process—from blank page to finished product—is like working with clay. The actual writing is when you add your clay to your table; you keep adding more and more material to work with, and you might even give it a general shape of how you want the finished product to look.
Editing is the molding and refining of all that clay. You might realize after adding to your table that you don’t really have a need for all of it, so large chunks are first taken away. Next, you begin to fine-tune smaller areas, focusing more on the details. And lastly, you tend to the surface of the clay structure you’ve created, planting tiny textures and details, some of which you might even doubt will be noticed, but you place them there all the same, knowing they only contribute to the final sculpture.
Without editing, all you would have is a lumpy mass of clay that looks maybe a little like how you thought it would, but it’s hardly the finished product you were hoping for. To move away from the analogy, editing allows for clearer communication by focusing on what you’re actually trying to say, potent meaning by removing unnecessary details and making your words pull their own weight, and more direct outreach by crafting words together in ways that grab an audience’s attention. Most importantly, it shows you care, not only for your prose, but for your readers as well.
So whether it be a novel manuscript, a business email, or a diner menu, make sure you’re providing the strongest version of your prose you possibly can.