October 15, 2012

A Second Pair of Eyes

I write articles for the University of Kentucky Arboretum newsletter.  Recently, the editor wanted a piece about the new mural that was installed in the Children’s Garden—250 words, easy peasy.

The educational director of the Children’s Garden explained that the mural was conceived by a local artist.  Then children painted the background with bright colors and glued on over 1,200 bottle caps.  Besides portraying some of Kentucky state symbols, the mural shows how art can be made with non-recyclable items. 

After learning about the mural and seeing it for myself, I knew I could crank out the article in a short period of time.  I outlined the material and composed questions for the educational director and the artist.  The piece came together nicely with a focus on the process of making the mural and its significance, along with some lively quotes. 

My husband reviewed the piece, as he does with all of my work.  Giving him about five minutes, I waited for his seal of approval.  But no.  He handed it back to me with comments written in the margins and question marks scribbled on the page.  My explanations weren’t clear enough.  Details were missing.   Some sentence phrasing was awkward.    

So, back to the drawing board.  I edited the article for clarity and used some of my husband's suggestions.  “Much better,” he said with a nod.  I had forgotten that despite the brevity of an article, another pair of eyes is always needed because it’s hard to step away from work and read it objectively. 

After the revision, the mural article is still within word count.  Its focus is tighter and the explanations are clearer.  Without a doubt, the article is much improved.  I am thankful for the insight and kindness of my second reader.  He makes my work more worthy to submit. 

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