Okay, I wrote an entirely different blog post before this one. The essay you’re reading isn’t even remotely similar to the original. This one isn’t about hiking, this one isn’t about how you can effortlessly compartmentalize mountain bicyclists onto an easy to read Game of Thrones character trait spectrum, and this one isn’t about how much the other one sucked.
It really did.
Yes, you’re right, I did just make this essay about how much the first draft was awful, but we’re not going to talk about that anymore.
Because I wasted hours writing it. All thirteen hundred words of it. Which is far more than I typically allow myself for my monthly post.
People don’t have that kind of time.
Or patience for pure drivel.
Which is exactly what it was.
Seriously, enough of the old one. My point is that editing is everything.
You have to know when to keep plowing through with some endeavor, when to cut, snip, and modify, and when to just find a large fire pit to toss it all into and watch it burn, baby. Your tears can dry by firelight. It’ll be romantic.
I learned long ago the importance of an editor. I learned shortly after that the importance of a good editor and how there is a difference. And now I’m learning just how badly I am in need of a life editor.
We all need people like this. People who shape, guide, instruct, and brutally shine a light on everything we’re too close to get a real grip on. How awesome would it be to have someone silently in the background? A tiny Jiminy Cricket on your shoulder who either subtly whispers in your ear as you’re about to reach for something, “Uh yeah, I wouldn’t do that. Drop it, sweetie,” or one who shouts, “Oh my godfathers, what the hell are you thinking? Run!”
Lately, I’m falling in need of something in the middle. A helpful aid who has a bird’s eye view of thirty seconds in front of me, and who maybe has a sweet and syrupy southern accent, prefacing all my idiotic choices with a, “Aww, God bless your cotton socks, honey,” so I don’t feel such a sharp rebuke with my blunders.
I’m making a lot of mistakes recently. Misjudgments, miscalculations, moving with misdirection. Energy spent on the wrong thing and on the wrong people.
It’s a little bit like the time I decided to paint my bedroom florescent yellow to increase the cheeriness factor within it and ended up suffering a year of massive migraines. I also lost a year of sleep as I slept in a room that shined as brightly as the inside of a working nuclear fusion reactor.
It stings a bit wasting two or three hours on writing an essay that turns out to be a stinker versus wasting a week on a project or plan that falls short because you lack the vital fundamental understanding needed to see the big picture.
And no doubt there are countless people who can scoff at the above paragraph’s whiny note and kick away its relevance by revealing that they wasted twenty years on a spouse who insisted they were near a breakthrough with their milestone advances in organic tree water and anti-inflammatory conifer oils when you finally opened up the door to their backyard science lab and discovered they’d been doing nothing but perfecting the art of making balloon animals for children’s birthday parties.
Experience is expensive.
But so is any worthy education, right?
I finally learned how to write musical manuscripts for a big band swing orchestra with swift speed only after three of the guys cornered me backstage following one rehearsal. They said either I sit down with them and see why the bullpuckey bunk I was penning for them stunk or they were walking and I’d be left without a horn section. Again.
It was the hands-on guidance I needed instead of the “Music Theory 101 classes” I suffered through where reams of music returned to me from a pricey conservatory instructor with his red penned notes saying, “Review page 329.”
Okay, fine, but why??
And experience is painful.
I recently attended a fifth grade science fair where I saw a young lady, casts on both arms up to her elbows, standing in front of a white board that read How High is Too High?
No doubt all of us look back and feel our lives might benefit from some redaction. From a touch up given to us by an expert. From a reshoot, or revision, or an overdub.
But our lives are not a blog post. Our days are not essays published with an eye-catching snapshot or two of the subject. We’re not a slickly scripted podcast or a mirthful vlog nailed on the twenty-first take.
We are the humans who live the stories, who then write the stories, who then publish the stories as warnings or lessons or amusement for others.
The good ones are filled with conflict and resolution.
The real ones are riddled with mistakes.
If you want to tell a great story, you really need a great editor.
If you want to live a great life, you might want to boot kick that idea of a “life editor” to the curb.
Cuz they’re going to stop you … before you even have a chance to fall into something worth writing about.
For the time being, the blog is closed to comments, but if you enjoyed it, maybe pass it on to someone else. Email it, Facebook it, or print it out and make new wallpaper for the bathroom. If it moves you, show it some love and share. Cheers!