AI means we’re all editors now

Aaron Cecchini-Butler
3 min readJan 20
Hand holding red pen above blank notebook
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I remember learning at some point (I think in college, in the context of songwriting and music composition) that creatives are always switching between creator and editor. Oftentimes, creators in the modern economy are also their own marketers, social media managers, accountants, and more.

The premise is simple — don’t let your creator get in the way of your editor, and don’t let your editor get in the way of your creator.

Picture this, you’re writing an article and you’re in a state of flow. All of a sudden, you add a comma but can’t remember if it should be a semicolon. To maintain your creator mentality, you leave it as a comma and continue on. The other path would be to stop, go and look up the difference (again) and fix it immediately.

The danger of the second path is that it can move your brain from the “creator” space to the “editor” space. In doing so, all of a sudden you might see a number of other errors — and you’re struggling to figure out the next sentence.

The first draft

a typewriter
Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

The first draft is a first draft. Pour it all out onto the page and edit later. In Joni B. Cole’s article, “Stop trash-talking your first draft,” she talks about “steel(ing) ourselves from the harsh feedback by beating our critics to the punch.”

“You hate my work? Well, I hated it way before you did!”
-Joni B. Cole

It is important, that with a first draft, we are completely shameless. We write exactly what comes to mind and we leave all editing for later.

ChatGPT and other AI

ChatGPT Logo
ChatGPT Logo

ChatGPT and other writing AI (such as Notion AI, Text Generation API | Deep AI, and countless others) are showing us that there’s an alternative option for creating a first draft.

The interest in this option is apparent by the fact that ChatGPT is “at capacity” as I write this article.

Aaron Cecchini-Butler

Senior Systems Designer at Grubhub working on Cookbook (our design system) — as well as contributing to product design work.