First Catch a Fish and Then Cook It
About Writing and Editing
This is how most us grew up:
We have known fish as a dish and how to eat. Some of us know different types of fish and the ones we like or not.
Now consider this:
You are living in a place with fish being an important part of your meal.
You have mandatory courses in school teaching you how to cook fish.
You have been taught the correct use of ingredients and methods, and you have been tested on how to find and correct mistakes.
All the while, some mysterious sources kept providing you with all the fish you needed. You had some basic idea that fish live in water and people catch them, but you never even saw how it is done.
You completed your education and then started working at a job. All this time you kept using your knowledge to prepare the fish. You were not being too meticulous about the mistakes since no one was evaluating now. Some people liked your fish and others didn’t. But this did not bother you, as it did not have any major consequences.
Then one day you had a realization that doing the entire process of preparing the fish on your own will have a huge positive impact on your personal as well as social life. This was something that was missing in your life all the while, and now that you know it: you cannot wait to get started.
You had some fish at the back of your refrigerator that you were too busy to prepare. You went ahead and prepared them for the next few days, taking care of small things and trying to get everything as perfect as you could make it.
Now you decided to share what you cooked with the world. The reason being: you’ll get some feedback and people will have food to enjoy. A win-win situation for all.
You started getting visitors in the small restaurant you opened where you served what you prepared.
It was all going well, and you were feeling contented.
One morning you woke up to find that you were out of fish. The ones in your fridge are over. And the biggest catch in your new found passion is: you have to catch the fish as well. Your fish doesn’t have to be unique or a newly found species entirely, but no one is going to catch and hand you the fish to prepare.
Now you start to think: throughout your life, you have had many great dishes cooked by some great chefs. You did appreciate how they prepared it, but never really gave a serious thought about how they caught the fish. For all you know, they just used to go to some place with their fishing tools and always returned with enough fish.
You also had the tools, so you went to your nearest lake and tried.
But you got nothing. You spent hours and hours but nothing. To be correct: nothing that you consider worth cooking and serving to people.
You went to consult other people, you read articles online, and then you had the realization that every lake, pond, river, and sea has millions of fish — even the one that you tried.
Now you at least had a starting point. You started paying attention to the fish that passed through your network and tried to cook the good ones from what you could catch.
To end the story on a positive note: you learned how to use the methods and ingredients much better than you learned in school. Because it was the fish you caught, you were responsible to make sure the people who decided to give your dish a try should really enjoy it.
If you read the subtitle of this article carefully, you must be knowing what this story is all about.
The fish foods are the pieces of writing, the methods and ingredients are grammar and style of writing.
We are the people who used written communication as a critical part of our lives.
The ideas are the fish.
The water body is your thoughts.
We all are concerned about writing the right way: doing grammar checks, correcting our sentences, and editing what we wrote. We think that writing is all about making sure the person reading it understands what we are saying.
This is absolutely correct, no doubt about it.
But we should have something to say first, and then we should worry about putting it the right way.
Our education (unless you specialized in writing, language, or literature) is focused on teaching us how to put ideas the right way and how to avoid mistakes.
Only when we start writing, say a blog, we realize that we need ideas first.
The main idea I want to convey here is to try to improve and respect the first part that is to get an idea and trying to write it down, and not just how to edit a written piece. Always remember that you have to catch the fish first and then cook it.
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