If you’re familiar with how libraries work, you already know what “weeding” is when used to refer to a book collection.
This is the first of a two part series; today, I’m going to talk about the process that I go through when editing any of my own work (and that extends to prose as well as essays), and tomorrow I’ll talk about what I do when I’m editing someone else’s work. This might also be a case of, “Do as I say, not as I do,” because there are more of the best practices that I’ve learned to follow, but if I’m in a particular hurry, I don’t always do everything.
In any case: You have written an essay/short story/novel chapter or whatever that you’re going to be presenting to other people–either in person as part of a workshop, for a grade, or posting online for a wider audience. Maybe you have an editor already, which is great, but you’re considerate and don’t want your editor to feel miserable. Here are a few guidelines that I like to follow.