Yeah, yeah. I know. There are thousands of articles about “How to be…” this, or “What you need to be…” that. Well, here’s another one…
To be good at anything, you should have good senses. Not just the olfactory ones, but professional “senses” that serve you well while doing your day-to-day job. It’s no different for writers, editors, and proofreaders. They have to have a storyteller’s sense of flow, an artist’s sense of imagery, a musician’s sense of timing and rhythm, and a drill sergeant’s sense of demanding perfection at every waking moment of the day! Whew. Sorry about that.
Anyway, writer, editors and proofreaders (I’m not going to type that out all the time, so I’ll tap into my government experience and make an acronym out of it: WEP; meh, good enough) are no different than any other profession (ha! Yeah right!). They need to have their “senses” in order. Here are some additional senses that WEPs should have. And if you want to be one, you should be well-versed in these also.
Sense of Urgency
Every WEP needs to have a sense of urgency when they are doing their work. If you’re commissioned to write something, there’s no need in dawdling – get to it! Do your research, outline, and first draft and have something to show for your time. Impress yourself with your writing speed. Impress yourself with your ability to find mistakes in a draft. Impress yourself by arguing over the use (or not) of an Oxford comma. But don’t mess around. Start writing (or editing, or proofreading)!
Sense of Pride
Every project a WEP contributes to is a work of art. Not everyone will appreciate it. It won’t wind up in the top literary journals or be lauded by your local book club. But, it’s important that you have a sense of pride in your work. Even if your boss rips up your first draft and tells you to start over (or try a different profession), know that you created something out of nothing. Take pride in the…
Sense of Process
That’s right. Process. I’ve written about process before. I actually love the process. As I’ve grown older, it’s not just the written word that excites me, but the process to get there. Thinking. Outlining. Drafting. Revising. Yelling. Screaming. Crying. Punching. Sulking. Yelling more. Talking to myself. Revising. Submitting.
Sense of Self
WEPing will give you a great sense of self (if you don’t already have one). It will have you soaring above the clouds and thinking you’re the best WEP in world (nay, universe!) or have you rocking back and forth in the corner wondering if you have any value to society at all. But isn’t that cool? You really learn all there is about yourself when you’re creating something. It may not be your mission in life, but give it a shot. Write something. Edit something. Proofread something. You’ll learn something new and leave the endeavor with a good sense of self.
Now get out there and WEP!
Chris Obudho has over 25 years of writing, marketing, and public communications experience he learned in the public and private sectors. As a technical & marketing writer/editor, he can help you tell the right technical story through actionable content, precise editing, and passionate communications.