If you watched Project Runway’s Season 8 finale, you’re going to know exactly what I mean by “editing.” The finalists were given a chance to show 3 pieces from their 10-piece collections to the judges before the final runway.
For each designer, the judges liked a few elements, harshed on a lot of the choices, and warned the contestants to apply a strong editorial eye for the finale. I hope this doesn’t give anything away, but the designer who edited the most, won… big!
- $100,000 cash
- $50,000 worth of HP computer equipment
- A spread in Marie Claire magazine
- Sales outlet via Piperlime.com
I mean… wow! With that loot up for grab, I’d say, “Listen to the judges and edit!”
So, how would you go about editing a collection of work?
Technically, to edit means to prepare for publication or presentation by:
- Correcting, revising, or adapting
- Cutting and splicing
- Verifying accuracy and improving clarity
- Rearranging and rejecting previously included material
Editing is central to the work I do with my clients.
Editing is your chance to add your voice to the flow of the story. As you edit, you choose the focal point. You delete the extraneous. You manage the rhythm and timing.
People have busy minds. What can you say to engage them before blasting them with details? What are the biggest, most important wows of your art or your business? Show off these assets, and then create invitations (via links, small text, deeper pages) to dive into more.
I suggest writing free-flowing first drafts. Let the ideas expand and include asides and distractions. For visuals, throw all the possible images into a notebook, folder, or computer image file, and let everything brew. However, with this sort of “anything goes” creative process, it’s essential to be a brutal editor.
If you have doubts, leave it out.
Once you’ve done your brainstorming work, divide your ideas into 3 categories: essential, interesting, and junk. Then cut, cut, delete, cut, mark out, and cut. Keep essential; limit interesting; get rid of junk. Especially in print and on the web, you’re dealing with a short attention-span audience, so messaging and imagery have to come across as big and punchy.
Ask yourself, “Can I…
- Create shorter sentences?
- Use fewer words?
- Choose a more specific word?
- Break ideas into bullet points?
- Group like concepts?
- Provoke action?
I like editing like this. If I’m not certain that something adds value, I’ll delete it and see if I miss it in an hour. Every delete grows my confidence in my ability to see what is important.
Next time you create, try the create and cut editing method. Then tell me what you think.
Here are my first two edits on this very blog post! See? Brutal! :)