Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On Editing

As mentioned previously, I've been working on a zine. The writing is done and I'm wrestling with edits.

Every time I think "there, that's what I want",  I find something that was clear to me but that I don't explain and thus it might not be clear to a reader (I do that here often enough that I'm not surprised this is the case).

More commonly, I find words that aren't exactly what I want, or sentences I think can be said "better." By better, I mean, more efficiently and grammatically correct, per Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. Often, as this blog bears witness, I don't concern myself with such things but this is going to be in print and I can't go back and fix it easily later.

At some point soon, I'll just call it. You can edit forever, but it's a case of diminishing returns. 

Longer ago than I care to remember, as a teaching assistant in my first grad school attempt, I taught remedial English composition. The goal was to bring students with a less than stellar writing background in high school up to the standards of the university. 

I loved teaching that class. Unfortunately, for my students, I was heartless when it came to their papers - I would send them back for countless revisions before I'd pass it as acceptable. At one point, my mentor in the teaching assistant program said to me while holding a stack of the papers I had covered in questions to guide the student to a better paper, "These are good enough." And I learned an important lesson, one that I have since heard phrased as "The best is the enemy of the good."

OK, maybe I learned it intellectually, since I have to reach a point of frustration when painting miniatures before I'll say, "it's good enough." But, at least, in writing, I can let go a little sooner.

And, I'm rapidly approaching that point with this issue of my zine.

In any case, for your visual "pleasure", a mock up of the first issue of 6 Iron Spikes & a Small Hammer I did last week:

I'll release it into the wild sometime in the next two or so weeks.


  1. Very much looking forward to this.

    1. Thanks, Tim! Although I hope it meets expectations, I'll be happy if people don't immediately toss it in the recycle bin.