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:

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.

ArtistryJamie HansonComment