I spent most of the last decade supervising feature stories for a major media network – overseeing the selection and pre- and post-production of the stories along with aspects of sales and distribution.
Beyond finding the right story for the right property, I had to ensure the project was delivered on time and within budget. Most importantly, it had to fit the program.
I spent a great deal of time editing. Not only editing words on paper and content for time, but also trimming the ambitious producer’s 5-part documentary expectations. I’d cut 18-minute features into 12 minutes. Six-minute profiles were a better viewer experience when they were four minutes. Whatever best served the show or platform where it was intended to run is what it needed to become.
It was a necessary, if at times unpopular, task.
I was more times than not, a ruthless trimmer.
And though I’m no longer in that role, that job function – of trimming down to the best version of the story – has stuck with me.
Now that I’m working on my own story’s Next Chapter and helping others with theirs, I’m in Edit Mode more than ever, constantly looking at what I have and trimming to only the essentials for the best version of the story.
I wrote recently about Work-Life Enoughness.
Edit Mode is the path to Enoughness.
What is Edit Mode?
It’s simple: Edit your own life for more of what you need and want and what’s working for you and less of what you don’t and isn’t.
I’m editing in all areas.
I started by removing 30,000 items from my house. Yes – THIRTY-THOUSAND items. I discovered the beauty of an empty bin.
Editing means less.
Less clutter. Less worry. Less weight (both literal and figurative). Less money means figuring out how to spend it on more important things.
Fewer annoyances. Fewer obligations. Fewer toxic people in my life.
(More time making sure I’m properly distinguishing between “less” and “fewer”…)
I’m in a constant state of revision and editing for LESS of what’s been weighing me down.
And you know what?
Getting rid of all of that weight doesn’t feel like less at all. It feels like MORE.
More time for what matters. More space. More creativity. More opportunity.
This regimen of cutting down and back has propelled me forward as I take stock of how much I have and how little I actually need.
You don’t need to be a professional editor to enter Edit Mode. Just focus on what’s working – what feels right – and be willing to cut the excess of what’s not.
Ask yourself: What do I truly need? What’s no longer serving me?
And then edit accordingly.
Valerie Gordon is a former award-winning television producer, author, and the founder of career and communication firm The Storytelling Strategist. She partners with corporations, teaching storytelling strategies for personal branding and team-building, and helps clients create meaningful next chapters. Inquire about a session for your organization at firstname.lastname@example.org.