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What's the best editing and writing advice you've ever received?
I'll start with this favorite from the great E.B. White
Subscribers, I turn to you for help. I’m giving a writing and editing workshop this week to graduate students in the public policy school at Duke University, where I’m a visiting professor. It’s something I’ve never done before, and I want to be as helpful as possible.
Naturally, I have some things I want to say. But I’d love for you to tell me what helps you in your writing — and what has been most helpful to you when your work has been edited.
Please share in the comments, and I’ll let you know how it goes.
I love this from E.B. White, one of our greatest essayists, as well as the author of “Charlotte’s Web,” of course. (His essay on Thoreau, “A Slight Sound at Evening,” is one of the best things I’ve ever read.)
The main thing I try to do is write as clearly as I can. Because I have the greatest respect for the reader, and if he’s going to the trouble of reading what I’ve written — I’m a slow reader myself and I guess most people are — why, the least I can do is make it as easy as possible for him to find out what I’m trying to say, trying to get at. I rewrite a good deal to make it clear.
As for editing, I subscribe to the notion of ENAE: Everyone Needs An Editor. What I find most helpful in an editor: First, before you rearrange and make suggestions and tell me what’s wrong with it … please, please tell me something you liked. A little encouragement goes a long way.
How about you? What do you keep in mind? What’s been helpful? (Note — while commenting is usually for paid subscribers only, anyone can comment on this post!)