Why I Rarely Edit my Articles
I wrote sixteen articles last month, and fourteen the month before. That’s a total of thirty articles, and I can tell you one thing with absolute certainty — I didn’t spend more than thirty cumulative minutes editing them.
When I say editing, I don’t mean proofreading. I do read my articles at least two times before submitting them, but I rarely ever change the structure of a sentence, or add/deduct a word, or indeed edit in any way. The sentence you’re reading right now hasn’t been altered in any way; it’s the same as it was when I was writing it.
When it comes to articles, my first draft is often my final draft.
Your unique voice
Every writer has their own voice, their own way of saying things, their own style of prose, their own method of expressing themselves. Like all writers, I also have my own voice. This is it. The words you’re reading right now are being typed as and when they form in my mind. This is my raw prose, my raw voice.
This is me.
When you edit, you destroy a part of your voice. That is, at least, what I believe. I get the need to polish your writing, and that’s precisely why even I do spend some time editing. But I do that only when my sentences don’t make sense, when they’re too long and convoluted, or when they don’t feel complete without me adding in a word or two. Those are the only three times I change my writing. When my sentences are perfectly functional, I leave them be.
Your writing doesn’t need to be perfect
There was once a time when I was obsessed with perfecting my prose. I believed no one would want to read writing which seemed unpolished. But there’s a difference between real and unpolished. My writing may not always be polished, but it’s always real. What I mean by that is my writing always represents my raw thoughts and feelings.
Whenever I get angry, I speak a certain way. When I get sad, that style changes. I change my prose and word usage. But after I’ve calmed down, before hitting publish, I never try to make my writing standard and moderated. Why? Because that was me. That was how I wanted to express myself. Those were my thoughts and feelings. Moderating them would be tantamount to betraying my emotions.
At the end of the day, people want to connect with other people. Reading is just another way of doing that. When I read articles like the one I’m writing, I do it because I’m curious about the author’s opinions, about their ideals, about them. I feel like connecting with them. But I can’t if they don’t have a personality. Your raw language carries your personality. It tells people who you are, what you stand for. It helps them connect with you.
Imagine a world where prose was uniform. Your writing would only be published if you adhered to that strict template. Everyone’s writing would sound the same. There’d be no variety, no personality. That world would be hellish.
Of course, you should edit your article if it contains wonky sentences and/or major grammatical mistakes. But if not, if it’s functionally sound, leave it be. Let your readers get a glimpse of how your mind works.
Let your readers get a glimpse of you.