Detail Work

My best friend Andy is rumored to have once said, “People always say, ‘I am my own worst critic.’ Well I’m not. August is my worst critic.”

I take no small pride in my critiquing skills. When it comes to words, I have an eye for detail. Shifting through pages and pages of small type looking for mistakes is something I find enjoyable. Finding errors in writing is like getting a shot of dopamine. It probably says something negative about me that I enjoy finding other people’s mistakes, but I’ll take my pleasures where I can get them.

When critiquing, it’s all too easy to be mean. There’s a certain satisfaction gained from being an asshole about other people’s mistakes. Often I find it necessary to reign that in. Not because I’m worried about hurt feelings, but because being a jerk isn’t the most effective way to edit. If the goal is improving the work, I find it best to be as neutral as possible.

Finding the typos and punctuation errors is easy. It does very little good to just proofread and call it a day though. The real joy of critiquing is improving on the work itself. The goal is to learn what they are trying to say, and help them say it better.

When it comes to my own work, I actually enjoy the editing process more then the writing process. Creating something from nothing is hard. The effort required to write something new, whether a fifty thousand word novel or a three hundred word blog post, can be exhausting.

I find it much easier to take something already formed and mold it into a more pleasing shape. Easier and more satisfying. It’s like any other work of art. It’s relatively easy to sculpt a person. It’s harder, more detailed work, to add the features that bring it to life.

I prefer the detail work.

In his pretend life, August Baker is a retail monkey who channels anger and loathing into something vaguely resembling literature. In his real life, he is a Space Pirate.

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