Speaking Well vs. Writing well

Here I am again… with editing on my brain! As I mentioned in my last post, much of what I write about on this blog deals with the importance of editing. If you are one of the few who can actually afford to pay someone to edit your book, or if your publisher handles the editing process for you, then editing is not a problem. But, for everyone else editing is super important and often very stressful. I didn’t think it was possible, but today I realized that editing is even more important than I had previously thought.

I came across an article written by Jill Rosen on Hub, in the Science and Technology section, that discussed how writing and speaking are actually supported by different parts of the brain. Meaning, someone can speak properly but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can write properly and vice versa. It’s actually a pretty cool concept to think about, but what does that really mean for writers? Especially in terms of editing?

Some writers/authors have extensive training in writing- they studied it in college, attended workshops, and possibly even went on to masters/graduate programs. These people have a huge advantage when it comes to editing because they have trained their eye to pick up on things that are on the paper in front of them, putting aside words that are floating through their brains or coming out of their mouths. Their focus is on what they can see on the paper in their hand, on their desk, or on the computer screen. Most writers don’t have that trained background. Maybe they only took a couple English classes in college, or maybe they did not even go to college. Self-publishing opens many opportunities for people to become authors, who never would have been granted that chance before. This is great, but it always comes with it’s challenges. Editing is one of those major challenges, especially when our brain can tell us one thing but we actually do another. Just because you speak with perfect punctuation and grammar does not mean that you will write with the same perfections.

It is important to keep that in mind when considering self-editing. Just because you may say the sentence as it’s supposed to be written, that does not mean it transfers to paper the correct way. Many errors can be overlooked because we are actually saying it correctly so the error doesn’t pop out to us. Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about this (except to have multiple people look at our writing before publishing). Our brains work the way they work. But, it’s something that we need to be aware of and something that needs special attention. Speaking well does not equate to writing well. Getting as much editing help (free or paid) as possible while writing a book is imperative to its success. Write on.