Friday, November 28, 2008


I would have to say that I'm not the biggest fan of editing. I will occasionally proof my own writings, reports or ramblings, but not always. Especially not in my blog. My blog is just something that I slap together my current thoughts, throw it out there and move on.

This week seems to be editing request week. My "homework" the other day for my son was to proofread and edit his essay on the movie, "March of the Penguins". Seeing that he's in the 6th grade, I figured I wasn't the best of people to ask, but due to lack of anyone else in the home, I won by default.

My dad taught English in college for a year or two (possibly more). Maybe I inherited some of his skills, I doubt it though. I enjoy reading and writing, to an extent. In college I took a professional writing class and learned of different writing techniques. Some I use today, other's not so much out of laziness.

I received an email the other day from a "friend" that is applying to law school. Attached to the email was the personal essay and the email requested that I read the essay and offer input, insight and editing. Mind you, it was hard enough bringing myself down to a 6th grade level, but now put myself in the shoes of a law student applicant?

I don't know this person well enough to know how much editing they could handle. When people ask for help or an opinion, do they really want to know it? Or are you suppose to respond with the generic acceptance as you would about someone's new haircut or outfit?

Regardless, that's not me. If someone asks for my opinion or my help, that's what they get. Not always filtered and always pretty blunt and straight-forward. I have tried to tone down my approach, especially for those that I feel are more emotional or unable to handle the entire truth.

So, I found myself editing a personal essay, on Thanksgiving, about someone that I really don't know. Putting myself in their shoes as well as the board who would be reviewing the essay. I did try not to change the essay too much, but offered insight as well as a revised essay with suggestions.

And then I waited. Waited to get an email. Waited to see if the phone would ring. Waited for some acknowledgment of my revisions and suggestions. Waited to see if I offended this person so much that I would never hear back from them. Waited.

This evening I received a call saying that in my email inbox was another draft of the essay. No explanation of what the revisions were or my suggestions had been. But, figured it must not have been too bad since I not only received a call but another draft to read and offer my "emotional" take on the essay.

Here lies the problem. Edit I can do. Proof I can do. Revise I can do. Offer my emotional response to reading an essay, not so easy.

When I opened up the draft, I was slightly surprised that the majority of my editing and suggestions had been taken. Of course there were other changes that I would make to the newly added information, but I did manage to do my best and didn't send a bolded, marked up essay attached to my email response. I sent an email with suggestions and what I felt after I concluded the essay.

Overall though, I'm still not sure what it means that people would ask me for advice on editing!

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