Editing Yourself

Posted on May 6, 2011 by

You have to be very careful when you publish something without anybody else looking at it.  That’s particularly true these days, when publishing means pressing a key on your computer.

You have to step outside yourself, read what you’ve written and decide if it’s ready to go.  You have to know when to stop flipping paragraphs, tinkering around with sentences and searching for synonyms.

Accept the idea that the perfect is the enemy of the good.

In the past, my work as a reporter and publicist was mostly collaborative.  I had editors and had been one myself.  When I was a staff and freelance writer, I would sometimes become furious over changes others made to my “copy.”

When I gave up my “byline” to work on publications for companies, nonprofits and unions, I became less attached to the material.  My job was to please the person signing the check.  Put another way, I subordinated my creativity for the cause.

Finally, I’ve had a lot of fun as a labor communicator even though most union campaigns require very specific messaging.  But the big ideas – economic justice and opportunity, worker solidarity and power – usually make it through.

So now I’m a blogger:  picking my subject, balancing my viewpoint, cutting out the fat.

My biggest challenge is finding the right combination of the topical and the personal.  This post, for example, obviously leans heavily toward the personal. 

But I made a deal with my editor to let this one slide.

Comments (5)


  1. Perfect! And good! My compliments to your editor. This should serve as a credo for your homepage.

  2. Rudy Corral says:

    Thanks for the lesson. There is so much theses days as far as tweeting, text, email, blogging computers skills this button will do that this setting will do that this password with this key will let the whole world know your thoughts this key and button will allow only theses friends and their friends but only if u set it this way then they also can be ure friend that can see everything u post from this time to that time on this day 2 that day?
    Man I’m tried where dose it end this stuff. The thing i hate the most with this new age technology is trying to have a conversation with someone in person that’s flipping around with their smart phone or oops i pushed the wrong key and sent it to the wrong person ever experience that oh well thanks Labor Lou for the insight in to today’s mad mad world of technology. i hope i got it right here it goes into the wild blue yonder is that the way it goes oh well

  3. Ron Morgan says:

    In this email age your words of wisdom become sage advice. It’s so easy to hit send and not realize what it might mean. People will email or say something that they would never say to that persons face many times more hurtful because of the email veil. A good rule of thumb let some of our response emails set in draft for a day or hour before you send. It may save you from not really saying what you meant to say and spare everyone’s feelings.

  4. [...] Or talk too much about my work. [...]

  5. [...] May, 2011, I posted Editing Yourself, in which I warned readers to “be very careful when you publish something without anybody else [...]

Leave a Reply