(Shared by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)
I’m a writer – well, sort of. Couched within my job as an Extension Educator is the expectation that I’ll write. Fact sheets, flyers, marketing materials, news articles…Extension folks write stuff. Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of really good – and a few not so skilled – writers. And great or bad, every writer needs a good editor – someone who can help clarify ideas, find embarrassing typos, and get those commas where they belong.
I’ve served as an editor as often as I’ve been a writer, which is why I never forget that the act of writing is kind of amazing – it’s like creating something from nothing; and editing is like taking that new creation and sanding away the rough the edges. The effort it takes to write – to fill a page (or more likely, a computer screen) that was once void of any intelligence or creativity, with information, poetry, ideas, solutions, questions – takes effort, imagination, and courage.
Writing isn’t the only creative venture that takes courage. This same philosophy also applies to generating ideas. Countless times, I’ve been in meetings where folks are brainstorming ideas to address an issue; then someone begins to strike down the ideas, edit (kill) them, until all that’s left is a pile of bright, shiny potential covered with slimy, gray criticism. Okay, calm down, I know that the dialogue balancing creativity and evaluation is essential. My point is that we should make it a practice to acknowledge the fragile nature of new ideas and occasionally provide a protected environment to allow some of the better thoughts to take root and grow. New ideas are like fragile bubbles, floating out in the open, in full daylight, where anyone with an opinion, an agenda, or a little indigestion from lunch, can pop them. More…