Let the editor speak!

Currently there’s an ‘Editorial’ theme to Words & Pictures. In journalism, an editorial means an opinion piece by an editor. I had the good fortune to be editorial assistant as part of my MA in Creative Writing – and I can’t resist the opportunity to voice my opinion. In common with my other inspiration pieces, there will be work for you to do, though.

Quite rightly, you will have been told to stifle your inner editor when creating. Cover her mouth with Elastoplast and stick her behind a locked door when doing your first draft. (For good advice on that process download this free poster from copyblogger -it works for illustrators too.)

First task 

Work on a sketch for 10 minutes - yes, that means you, writer or illustrator 

Keep your door shut.
Do not stop
Do not think

Do not edit If you’re stuck for an idea, try here Writing prompt generator 

Then when you’ve done, open your door, brew some tea, cut some cake and invite your inner editor back in. Be nice to her. Relax. Talk about the weather.

Then get down to business.

Second Task 

Look at what you’ve done with a curious gaze. What’s good about it? (There will be something) Pick one dominant aspect – the spirit of the ideal version beneath the mess on the paper. Celebrate.

Now examine every word, line, colour or pixel. Does it bring out that underlying spirit? Tweak, remove or do it again till it does. Work swiftly and decisively. Trust yourself.

Opinion bit 

The two-part exercise above is a microcosm of the creating-editing dialogue throughout your whole work. Just remember that conversation works best when both listen and take turns.

Editing is like educating – you are ‘bringing forth’. That could mean stripping away excess material to reveal the story (like weeding an overgrown garden) or it might mean adding to it, letting the work grow into itself. The intention, whether it’s your own work or someone else’s, is to make the piece more the thing that it is. In the same way you’d listen to a good teacher, listen to your editor.

By Philippa R. Francis who writes as K. M. Lockwood

K. M. Lockwood is a writing name of Philippa R. Francis. As well as being a regular contributor, Philippa (@lockwoodwriter) also tweets as @Words8Pictures helping to maintain our 'Industry news' feed.


  1. Really like the idea that editing is 'bringing forth' the story. Thanks Philippa.

  2. By using this site editing scientific papers Science students will be able to get fulfill their demands.


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