Your Editor may be destroying your life


Editors are trying to destroy your life. They attack with bolts of lightning and you may not even realize it.

Microsoft made a deal with the devil. MS Word installs the Editor with every copy of software. Every misspelled word, every grammatical error and every contextual faux pas invites a bolt of lightning from your unfriendly Editor.

Did you ask for an Editor? I think not.

Most of us have layers of internal Editors who need no help reminding us that we are frauds, impostors, or not up to par. Do we really need another Editor, sending lightning bolts each time it believes we have made an error? I think it spells help, HELLp!

The Editor is on a search and destroy mission for the slightest missteps. Your Editor’s weapons of destruction come in Red (spelling errors), Green (grammatical errors) and Blue (contextual errors).

What’s next, wireless crayons that send bolts of squiggly Editorial reminders so that children can learn to scribble within the lines? Back off Editor.

Most of our day to day communication is grammatically incorrect and poorly contextualized. So how is it that we expect our written communications to be pristine and mistake free? A page that is free of mistakes is an empty page, a page void of the hard lessons earned through risk.

Your Editor can a little bit of a kill joy, if not for your DJ. The DJ gives us crayons, lets us sing and dance and write and dream, making messes and breaking rules.

CrayonsThe Editor looks for exceptions, but your DJ knows life is lived in the exceptions. An exceptional life welcomes risk, vulnerability, mistakes, experiments, art, mess and entrepreneurial thinking.

Your DJ uses the colored lightning bolts like crayons, making something cool out of messy drafts or pilot projects gone sideways. The DJ knows that today’s leftovers are tomorrow’s energy.

Teaching your DJ and your Editor to get along

Teenagers hate rules and dream of being free from all expectations. And then they go to school. Forget the squiggly lightning bolt. At school, mistakes are enforced with Sledgehammer Editing. For many of us, this is the time that the DJ goes silent.

One of the gifts of maturity is learning that your Editor can have some important things to say. It took me some time to learn this: Feedback can change your life, if you let it. Accepting some editing is healthy.

  • Let the DJ have the first draft. When you dream, dream in color. When you are on your first draft, write freely and don’t edit. Pick a day of the week and wear what you want (Fun Friday’s). Try inexpensive, small experiments to see whether your marketing idea has some legs.
  • Pick an hour to create. This one is not mine; I credit Todd Henry, of the Accidental Creative. He recommends picking an hour a week to create without a purpose: Write whatever is in your mind, draw, garden, create a new recipe or write lyrics to a song. The point is to turn the Editor off and let the DJ flow. You may want to invest an hour two or three times each week, or every day if you can manage it. The point is to choose a time where you allow the Editor to fall silent and let the DJ take the house.
  • Meditate. This is one of the best tools that I have to silence the Editor. When we meditate or pray, we accept that the Editor has something to say. We notice what the Editor says and go back to listening, breathing, and knowing that we are valued.
  • Give yourself permission. The Editor is part conscience and part protector. The Editor is like a Bouncer, prone to kick the door down to show a little muscle. But the cool thing is that the Editor settles down when they know that we are listening. I sometimes do a “Mind Dump” where I take one page from my journal and write down everything on my mind. Giving yourself permission to write everything on your mind can set you free.
  • Have a conversation with your Editor and your editor. Giving permission to your Editor does not mean letting them boss you around. It means that you will respect them if they respect you. If your inner Editor screams at you, set limits by replacing the oppressive thought, practicing gratitude or talking to someone you trust. You may also need to have a conversation with people in your life who feel they can edit you whenever they want. Thank them for their “fine tuning” but remind them that you need to express yourself. People who love you will get it.

Edit and Credit are identical, except for one letter. The difference between giving yourself an edit or some credit may change the way you use the entire alphabet! Give yourself some credit and let your DJ have the house.

If you like this piece, you will love my piece on Remix Your Life at the Good Men Project.

Keep it real

3 thoughts on “Your Editor may be destroying your life

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