I’ve been asked the question “Why editing?” many times throughout my college career. Some people enjoy the writing or design process. But editing?
For some reason, my direction in life has not changed much. Ever since junior high, I knew I wanted to work in a field where words were central. In high school, I realized my love for the editing process. Peer reviews were some of my favorite days (I know, I’m that student) because I loved to share the process of helping other students improve their essays. This continued into college where I have had numerous opportunities to work with peers in my creative writing courses, help students on papers as a tutor in the Writing Center and, of course, copy edit articles for The Lorian.
Frederick Buchner said that your calling is “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Fred, you said it perfectly. I remember sitting in my first J-term course, Writing the Midwest Landscape with Dr. Koch, and realizing that editing was where I found this gladness. Each editing opportunity is the chance to scrape a little more dust off that diamond you’re mining for.
Throughout the creative writing process and classes, I have learned one thing: the editing process is the best. It shows that you have put the effort into the story (or even essay) and are close to the finished project. There is such satisfaction in the knowledge that you have fine-tuned a written piece into the best version it can be.
And isn’t that what we are called to do throughout our lives? Fine-tune ourselves, slowly working away at the flaws we see but never getting discouraged and giving up. In many ways, our lives are an editing process, and this process is not meant to be done alone. Throughout my time at Loras, I have found great people who have built me up and helped me become a better version of the person I was when I first stepped onto campus.
So, what are my major takeaways from my experience with editing?
1) There is always something to praise. Even when you think you’ve turned in the crappiest draft of your life or made the biggest mistake, your essay, your life is not a lost cause.
2) Constructive criticism shows people care. Many people hate criticism because they feel it is an attack on themselves. But a lower grade does not mean you are a failure and need to reevaluate your life. Often times, if people give concrete criticism about something you wrote or something you did, it means they care enough to help. Let them. Don’t dismiss their advice.
3) There is always room to improve. We are all a work in progress. Again, this should not be discouraging. Instead, it should help us to take a deep breath and keep going. If something doesn’t turn out the first time, there is always an opportunity to revise. Perfectionism is a hindrance to many people, but we should instead look at how far we have come, as students and as people.
These last four years have given me the opportunity to be a part of the lives and works of so many people. And for that, I have many people to thank.
To all the editors who submitted to The Lorian throughout my three years on staff, thanks for allowing me to be a grammar and style activist. Ashley, I don’t know where I would be if you had not convinced me to join the paper sophomore year. You’ve been a great friend and a great “boss.” I’ve also been blessed with a great team of copy editors this year. Without you all, my hours in the office would have stretched into the next day.
Thank you to all my professors who have helped me grow as an author, editor and person. Specifically, thank you Dr. Koch for opening the doors to creative nonfiction and being an encouraging advisor. Thanks Professor Jablonsky for dealing with me during my thesis revisions and not being afraid to kindly drop the hammer on my sentimental pitfalls. And to Dr. McG, thanks for convincing me that a Spanish minor was not enough and always having more faith in me than I had in myself.
Okay, sentimental bit over. Peace, Duhawks.