I don’t like to edit. Well, I like to edit other people’s stuff, but not my own. I like what I write. Or I wouldn’t be a writer. That said, everyone needs someone to edit their work.
EVERYONE. (Including moi).
Fresh Eyes are other people’s eyes. Or they’re your own eyes after a good night’s sleep.
Fresh Eyes are your eyes after 24 hours away from the project. Maybe 8 hours. Or 2. For longer works, Fresh Eyes, if they’re your own, require time and a blink-worthy dusting (think powdered sugar here) of amnesia.
Stephen King says Fresh Eyes are needed between book drafts. In his writing craft memoir On Writing he says, “How long you let your book rest—sort of like bread dough between kneadings—is entirely up to you, but I think it should be a minimum of six weeks.”
Fresh Eyes could be called “vu-jà dé” … (I stole this from Adam Grant’s TED Talk at minute:second 10:57 into the talk. Thanks Adam! J). It’s like the opposite of déjà vu, where instead of already having seen it before, you’re seeing it for the first time.
Fresh Eyes bring someone else’s perspective into your life, onto the project.
Fresh Eyes sing new tunes and bring new rhythms.
Fresh Eyes understand there are more ways to approach the problem, write the story, paint the picture, take the photo.
Fresh Eyes are untainted by prejudice. Fresh Eyes are unclogged by confirmation bias.
Fresh Eyes are often “focused” by listening ears and open hearts and reading out loud.
Fresh Eyes are gifted by a willingness to admit you’re wrong. A possibility that you made a mistake. The welcoming of another opinion, instead of an anxiety about being criticized.
Fresh Eyes are not fearful, nor are Fresh Eyes to be feared. They are your friends.
For your writing project, your film, your new product, your idea, your company, or your invention or daring marketing scheme, take a moment and a deep breath. Take two steps back, or take a walk around the block. A trip around the world. A night away. Take in a movie or a play. Read a book.
Then return with Fresh Eyes. And when “Did I really say that?” escapes your lips, you can thank us. Or thank Stephen King. He’ll be glad he could help. I’m sure.
Artwork by Katie Phillips