Repent and Rewrite: Set Aside Self-Centered Writing and Put Your Reader First
In a post called Editing is Metanoia, I wrote that:
- Editing is best viewed as an opportunity to make our written work better, and
- It's not good to dwell on our how our writing has failed (because the editing process can sometimes feel like having our noses rubbed in our mistakes).
Do I believe it? I do.
And I'm trying to put it into practice.
Editing: A Chance to Gain Insight into Improving My Own Written Work
Editing is a chance to gain insight into how I can improve my own written work.
So I went back over some of my early posts here at Just a Catholic Family and I edited them.
Self-Centered Writing Violates the Iron Imperative
In that editing, I notice that many of the posts were self-centered. That is, in writing the posts, I had not put the needs of my reader first.
I violated what Josh Bernoff calls the iron imperative.
In my writing, I failed to fully respect the reader's time.
Verbal Repentance: Making the Writing More Accessible and Relevant to the Reader
In an act of verbal repentance and editorial metanoia, I acted on the insight and reworked some of the material.
I tried to make it more accessible and relevant to the reader.
Here's what I've reworked so far:
- Need More Ideas? If You Write Down Your Ideas, They Breed
- You Need to be Willing to Change Your Practice and Approach: Test What May Be on the Other Side of the Boat
- Help Others Serve: Briefly Pondering Delegation in the Early Church
- If You Like This Scene about the Clamp, Then You Should Try "The Dog of the South"
- Christ's Humanity as a Tool of Grace
- Do You Want to Learn Wood Working? Go to the Southwest School of Woodworking
- You Can Pray With Your Kids in the Car: Here's How One Catholic Dad Squeezes Some Prayer into the Drive to School
- You Need to Think about Mary's Intellectual Qualities: This Book Can Help You
- Keep the Chisel Sharp: Don't Let a Disordered Sense of Work Dull You
I don't pretend that these reworked posts are perfect.
But they do represent an act of writerly repentance: they are me, as a writer, trying to put you, the reader, first.
Put Your Reader First and If You Fail: Repent and Rewrite
When you write, let your reader's needs dictate how you write. Put your reader first.
If you find that your writing has slipped into self-centeredness (you're writing in a way that's easier for you, the writer, to understand than it is for your reader to understand) then repent and rewrite.