I’ve written about perspective previously, but it’s usually been in relation to seeing oneself correctly – to have the right amount of confidence or to act in a manner worthy of one’s business and calling. Perspective, though, has a wide variety of applications. In this instance, the application is to the writing life.
Some writers also are editors. Some aren’t. The writers who live in both worlds learn to use different perspectives. When they work in the writing world, they function according to the writing perspective. When they are in editor mode, they change their perspective.
The writer is, in some ways, uncontrolled chaos or unbridled creativity. Those things are necessary. They’re healthy. It doesn’t do to stop mid-creation and to wonder whether a word is the right word or to debate using a semicolon instead of a comma. Such things belong to the editor’s realm. To stop mid-creation almost always means a stalemate. Very little can be written if one constantly is doubting the choices one is making. It also doesn’t do to start editing only to pursue tangents. The job of the editor is to identify gaps in the writing and to streamline the writing that exists in order to make it more powerful.
Of course, the two roles overlap. They aren’t nice and neat. They slip into one another, often without a person noticing. Nothing is wrong with that; it simply means that a person has absorbed both the writer perspective and the editor one into his or her life. Nothing is wrong with seeking another person’s perspective, either. It often is crucial to the work, even if the writer also is an editor.