Who Reads Your Stuff

I read a lot of materials. I write a lot of materials.

I read books and articles and book chapters for my course of study. I read student papers and assignments for my work as a teaching assistant. I read prospective students’ applications for our clinical pastoral education program at the hospital. I read emails and cards and parts of electronic medical records.

And I write. I write a lot–most of the stuff in the above, where I read–is also where I write. I notice something in my reading and writing, something that is said over and over for persons who want to be writers, and it is¬†that everybody needs an editor.

An editor is a person who reads your stuff, reads your work, even reads your life in order to offer you comments, feedback, corrections, and alternative ways of seeing what you created. An editor listens to your words to locate your hopes and returns what’s heard so that you both recognize yourself and stretch yourself.

Everybody needs a second set of eyes, a person who looks at what you say, judges what you say against your intentions, and helps you get your intentions into the revision. An editor takes what you create and slants it, modifies it, challenges it, and tempers it in the perfect way so that what you offer is of a better quality.

There will be mistakes in your work. Writing or speaking. Writing or living. Writing or parenting. The question is, do you have editors? Do you have partners in the work of your writing or living or parenting? Do you have sets of eyes looking from your hopes and dreams and intentions back to your words and productions and creations? Do you have persons saying how much distance stretches between those?

Choose what you write and work at and create. Choose well. But make another good choice when it comes to the editors. They will make you shine.