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Editing ESP: Anticipating the Onslaught of Information

Updated on March 14, 2012

How nice would it be to have extra-sensory perception, to know what's going to happen before it does? Writers can make mistakes, such as using outdated information or inaccurate statements from trusted sources. Retractions are printed when someone else calls them on it. New editions come out all the time, sometimes for no reason other than to make money from the practice of superficially superceding the old ones. When new editions are actually warranted, it's usually in light of new information. In order to keep up with these updates, one must make educated guesses to predict future shifts and changes. In other words: revise, rinse, repeat.

The book Harry Potter and Philosophy is a collection of essays in regard to the series' philosophies and themes. At the time of its publication, not all of the books in the series had come out (Order of the Phoenix might have been the most recent the essays had discussed). Therefore, the writers had to make educated guesses about where the series was headed using what material was already at hand. In some instances they were correct; at other times they could not keep even the known information straight. If new essays were to be written on the subject now that all of the books and movies are out, the collection would be greatly improved by both correction and confirmation of what had come before.

Updates will never stop being made. Our knowledge of the world is ever evolving. Change is all we can hope to anticipate, and we should be prepared for it. For this reason, writing is a real job. As with voice acting, you may love to write, but when you spend hours a day rewriting the same passage over and over again, you'll find that it is also a lot of hard work. When the finished product turns out well, it is a rewarding experience; when it doesn't, the result isn't any fun at all. However, we must always be looking ahead to the next project, the next packet of data, the next wave of information.

Writers do not have to be mind-readers, just readers. Similarly, librarians do not have to be all-knowing, but they do know where to find everything. Being good at your job means learning to roll with the punches and knowing how to handle the unexpected whether you are a writer, a librarian, a waiter, or whatever profession you happen to find yourself in. Staying focused and in the loop is the best way to remain on top of a given situation, such as the pursuit of a particular topic of discussion or just another aspect of the job. Innovation is around every corner, and if you are not the one creating change, you must seek it out. Trend-setters and followers alike, as well as those who write about them, must know what is out there and have some idea of what is on the horizon in order to talk about it with a level of intelligence. For the rest of us, if we are not ahead of the curve then we must at least be inside of it if we want to be taken seriously in our fields.


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