Clean Copy

Clean Copy.

Clean copy is good copy – I couldn’t agree more. Being a good editor as well as a writer is – at least for me – a necessity; a bound component to the skill of writing, editing can make a reader read or not read.

And that makes a hell of a lot of difference.

Good editing can also mean the difference between being a professional who works a lifetime at a craft or a dabbler who merely satisfies a random compulsion. Editors love good editors, though they rarely will tell you, I’ve found.

Writing is an obsession for those who understand editing as being an integral part of writing and not a separate service sought after purging the muse. A good editor won’t purge the muse, but rather dote and coddle the muse in an effort to render its too often hasty retreat futile.

Make the muse’s stay one of comfort, massage its nuances and build upon its lushness, stroke its boundless ego – after all, it is the fuel in the writer’s tank.

Writers on Empty are not a friendly lot, if you’ve ever noticed.

Thanks for putting the words and the hyphens and commas and semicolons in the correct places; even to the writer whose audience is forever invisible and out of reach, gratitude is heard each time a writer’s work is completed with urgent ease and sad farewell. Print media carries that silent ache for the freelancer, I can personally attest; blogging fills that bottomless yearning, I am beginning to learn.

The work must leave the reader weak-kneed, a lover undone and uplifted and always wanting more. One word out of place, or the body missing grammatical rhythm, and the reader remembers it as a slight – consciously or unconsciously.

Formality within writing can always be seduced by the truly great lover whose flourishes unfasten the tight restraints of proper form, rare and few though these miracles are. These wizards are obvious and salient in the literary canon, freaks of the breed and both envied and emulated (to no avail).

When editing becomes a writer’s wizardry, rules and grammar, spelling and even rhythm are unnecessary rigors; no more nets or brakes or belts or braces to contain the ethereal nature untethered and limitless, the words are no longer of an earthly constitution.

Reaching that place as a writer, beyond observance of prim structuring or self-conscious editorializing (no matter how genius), is why I write. Even one taste will render the writer a formidable slave.

My father shamelessly hired me as a freelancer for a magazine he edited in Atlanta so I could claim my own clips.

My father shamelessly hired me as a freelancer for a magazine he edited in Atlanta so I could claim my own clips.

This is why I love writing, and why my muse is my heart’s peerless spark.


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