Oh, Editing? That’s Easy! (a mini rant)

“Mindless work” I’ve heard it called.

Mindless work.

Mind. Less.

A task so simple or repetitive that it doesn’t require much brainpower. Or skill.

Really, now?

So, what you’re telling me is we’re all masters of the English language, that we all have a comprehensive grasp on every possible grammatical and punctuation concepts, and we can catch and correct any errors without much thought? Again, I ask: Really?

This is where I think a big misconception about writers and editor comes to play.

 

I’ve had this argument before when I was in college. I lived in the engineering dorm all four years (semi-not-really long story that I don’t want to get into right now; basically, not by choice), and during meals, I would get hounded by aerospace, mechanical, electrical and general engineers alike for majoring in something so trivial and non-contributing to society as creative writing. I was told that I was a waste of a student by majoring in something so unproductive and meaningless to the world. Sure, they may have said it in jest but the tone and attitude behind their words spoke equally as loud and condescendingly. Apparently the creativity of a creative writer and English major is incomparable to the ingenuity of engineers.

And to that I loudly roll my eyes. I grew tougher skin as a result.

Even at work, I’m questioned how long it takes to edit one article. 10 minutes? No.

It’s all circumstantial:
who the writer is (and the level of their experience)
how long the article is
the topic
the level of fact-checking that needs to be done (see: topic)
proofreading

“Well, can you time yourself on every article you edit today so I can get an average?” How about this: each article can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. That answer doesn’t seem to please anyone, because the higher the volume the better, however, some circumstances are out of my control and I’d rather edit works thoroughly than churn out numbers. If and when the two coincide, the better, but until then: patience. Also, making me race against the clock won’t get you much.

My favorite line yet though is: “Do you need help with editing? I need something brainless to do.”

Get. Out.

Nobody likes it when their position or work is trivialized, no matter how big or small that position is. Especially it’s something I’m studying, the last thing I want to hear is someone call it easy or brainless. If you need a break from your calculations or administrative work and would like to contribute to the quality control of written content for the betterment of our team or company,  then yes, you may help.

The point I’m trying to make it this: no matter what major, no matter what job task, unless you’ve done it yourself to the same thoroughness and professionalism as that person or as the job requires, do NOT trivialize it. This is a mutual respect that needs to happen between creatives and technical people.

Going back to those engineers above: I know some of them were put on academic probation, yet somehow I still managed to graduate with over a 3.0 GPA, two majors and no probation.

Check your ego at the door.

 

Anyone else experience such disdain or negativity toward the humanities or even the social sciences?

8 thoughts on “Oh, Editing? That’s Easy! (a mini rant)

    • Mary says:

      There’s no shame in that! As writers, we’re constantly rereading, reworking and perfecting our work to the best of abilities. There’s so many ways you can say everything, and we just want to make sure it’s said clearly and well.

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