Our focus this week is the process of writing. Many students struggle with their writing because of their expectations of perfection and past learning experiences. At the doctoral level in particular, accepting that feedback is part of the dissertation journey is often easy to accept in theory, but difficult in practice. I encourage faculty to help train their students in the art of understanding that perpetual editing is simply part of the process, where the goal is progress, not perfection.
Whether writer or student, the challenge remains the same. How do we honor the struggle as part of the writing process and learn to be comfortable with being open to feedback, to accept graciously, knowing that feedback is a gift from the giver, instead of a criticism?
A good technique is to separate yourself, the person, from yourself, the writer. Often, this separation tends to preserve the ego and ease the challenges of facing edits after edits.
As a 21-time published author, I more than understand the challenge to the ego. Even as a professional editor, I still invite critique and editing for my own writing. Why? Many pens and thoughts are far better than just one. As the writer, we are often very emotionally connected to our writing. Our passion and our principles may be tied to our writing efforts. If we view editing as a gift from others to strengthen our writing further, we may have a much easier time knowing that the red pen of editing is simply part of the process of writing.
I welcome your insights regarding how you protect yourself to understand the gifts and process of editing as part of improving the mastery of writing.
My best to your continued success,
Dr. Cheryl Lentz
The Academic EntrepreneurTM