Getting feedback is one of the most important steps in the creative process. As Nancy Duarte described in her books, one of the best ways to get feedback is to post presentations on a wall and let a group of people spend time critiquing them. Seeing the entire thing at once makes it easier for people to see the structure of the piece and offer advice on how we can sharpen the points and strengthen the metaphors.
But as important as it is to get multiple perspectives and ideas early in the process, when it comes to refining and polishing, it’s hard to replace a good editor. While everybody is capable of giving good feedback, a good editor does so much more. Good editors give you the freedom to fail fast by picking up on your train of thought and doing their best to clarify it and build a logical argument.
For example, when we create drafts—of presentations or blog posts or chapters of a book—we try to get them done as quickly as humanly possible. Then, we ship off the presentations to a trusted editor for feedback. Having an editor gives us the freedom to explore new ideas without consequences because we know they will bring out the essence of our ideas and make it stronger.