Two Ways To React To Editing

editing in writing

Recently, I worked on a group project with several writers. After getting our initial thoughts on paper, we gave our thoughts on each other’s writing. Then it was time to move to the next step.


We sent the work to a professional editor to look at. A couple of weeks later, I received what looked like a graded term paper in my inbox. It was covered in red ink.

There are two ways to react to editing:

  1. Be really offended at the changes made, taking it as a personal attack against your very core.
  2. Be thankful for the feedback given and take it as a chance to improve your writing.

As writers, we’re never real happy to hear that something we poured our heart and soul into is not perfect. That sentence I spent ten minutes perfecting is now crossed out, deemed unnecessary to the rest of the piece. That word that I thought was really clever is actually just redundant. It can be hard to hear.

I took the corrections and revisions and carefully read through them, learning from each mistake. I’m holding onto that red inked term paper, in hopes that I can learn from my common mistakes.

After I finished making the changes, I realized how much tighter my writing was. It was more concise. My work was even better. It was a great feeling.

As writers, let’s take the constructive criticism we receive to spur us on to even greater writing. As Christians, let’s rely on the community around us to encourage us and push us on toward better writing.

QUESTION: In what ways can we respond better to the editing of our writing art?

* Image credit: Unhindered by Talent (Creative Commons)

  • I am just thankful that someone else would take the time to edit my work…because editing is the LEAST exciting part of the writing process for me. I don’t even like reading my own work after writing it. Johnny Depp doesn’t like watching his own movies, I don’t like reading my own writing.

    • I find editing the best and most rewarding part of writing, Tyler. The framework is up, all the nitty gritty and questioning about plotting etc is there – now you’re putting in the fine brush strokes and taking out the distractions. Love it.

  • Hi Jamie – I think there are ways to give feedback that don’t make the recipient’s heart sink. Red ink – why? Scribbles, when neat, printed comments on a Word document would work, why? I’m hoping you received an intro para at least that said what was good about your work and only then began into the critiques?

    • I honestly had no problems with the red ink. We had paid her to edit and give honest feedback, and that’s what she did. Her suggestions were fantastic. She was also good to point out the things that I had done well. It was well balanced.

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