Toxic Editing: I Don’t Need You to Mark My Paper

Why don’t you help me with your infallible wisdom, oh master editor?

David Andrew Wiebe

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I get it. The Medium community is trying to be helpful. But sometimes it’s a little toxic.

Out of nowhere, people come and mark up your writing like they were the master editor of all master editors.

“Comma here, bad spelling here, missing ‘to’ here…”

Or they tell you that you shouldn’t hit a carriage return after every sentence, because, let’s face it, their reading preferences are far more important than anyone else’s.

Give me a better explanation. I’m willing to hear it. But I’ve read W3C’s website and what they have to say on the matter, and they say to use short sentences and paragraphs to improve usability and accessibility.

So, before you get too carried away, oh mighty overstudied grade three English teacher, let’s set a few things straight.

English is Not English

The first time I saw the word “mum” I was sure it was slang or a misspelling. But I did some research, and I stood corrected — that is the accurate spelling in the UK.

American, Canadian, and Australian English all have certain nuances. I know because as a ghostwriter of hundreds if not thousands of blog articles, I’ve had to navigate these differences at times.

Your cereal box AI writing assistant may have told you otherwise, but to the audience I was writing to, I was using the correct spellings.

Never, ever, ever become too reliant on machines to tell you what good writing is. That’s plain lazy and often objectively false. And it fails to consider the audience. Which brings me to my next point…

Audience Matters

I have been in the music business for a long time. I write to my audience in a particular way, because of what I know about them. And I have received many compliments for my work.

Understand — I would not write the same way to people reading a book about psychology, for example.

So, if I sneak in a creative sentence or two, don’t be alarmed! It could be that I’m creating a…

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David Andrew Wiebe

Empowering independent artists to share their passion, build devoted fan bases, and turn creativity into income.