Lately I've been doing a lot more editing and reading than writing. It's during these times that I often find that I have to quiet my editor's voice when I'm not working. Knowing too much about something can sometimes a distraction. I find that when I'm recreational reading, for example, my writer's mind jumps in and finds an amazing passage. I then want to dissect it and pick apart how the author put the pieces together. Or, I'm fully engaged in a fast-paced thriller when my editorial eye notices that the style being used has some interesting nuances and variations from a style manual. Why did they design the book that way or use that phrase? And, then sometimes, I find myself wanting to edit the news stream in Facebook. (No, not really! Okay, well, maybe sometimes. Don't you?)
Do you ever think of your skills, whether in the writing/editing/painting/photography/cooking arenas, as your Achilles' heel? What I mean by this is, you may enjoy your creative pursuit, but do you enjoy it so much that you notice the littlest things and it distracts from your overall enjoyment? Do you look at the trees when it might be more enjoyable to look at the forest...or the Google satellite map? Or do you find you can turn your focus off?
Some days, fortunately, I think I can subdue my editing and writing zone. Then I hope that on the other days, when my keen editorial eye is at its sharpest, I don't run into the "damaged" piece written during my mellowed time off from the editorial world. If I do find the wobbly written piece, I just hold my breath, tuck the piece of paper away, and smile. After all, tomorrow is another day.
Elizabeth King Humphrey, a writer and editor, is looking forward to some beach reading this summer and hopes to be using only her vacation eyes.