We writers love to hate our editor.
Saying “the editor goofed it up” is one way to escape the blame for a poorly written piece.
In some ways, editing is the least favorite of the writing-related professions for many writers.
Some writers hate editing even if they are asked to do it themselves. I’ve met writers who won’t accept editing projects.
Not me. I happen to love editing projects and I’m always glad when I’m offered one. Likewise, I appreciate the efforts of a good editor.
Whether you like editing or not, there’s a lot of demand for good editors. My recent editing projects have included a white paper, the copy for an infographic, and a book for children.
In this post, I’ll explain why some writers dislike editing. I’ll also describe the reasons why I happen to love it.
Why Some Writers Dislike Editing
Editing makes a lot of writers uncomfortable. I totally understand that.
Here are some of the reasons why writers dislike editing:
- They disagree with the editor. A writer may feel that the editor’s decision is flat-out wrong. Or, they might believe that the editor didn’t understand their writing.
- They view editing as criticism. When a writer receives an edited piece of work and sees the changes, they often feel like they are being graded … and that they failed.
- A few bad apples. Let’s face it. There are some truly bad editors out there. If a writer has been burnt by a bad editing experience, they are more likely to dislike editing in the future.
- Deadline pressure. Editing takes time. If the writer is close to a deadline, the extra time it takes to edit a piece could mean missing the tight deadline.
Sometimes editing also makes editors uncomfortable. Here are some of those reasons.
- Possible confrontation. The editor may fear that the writer will argue about the changes or be otherwise unpleasant. No one enjoys that, and editors are no different.
- Grammar changes. You may think that grammar is cut and dried, but that’s actually not true. Language changes all the time and a good editor has to keep up. (For some examples of grammar controversy, see The 20 Most Controversial Rules in the Grammar World on the Online College.org blog.
- Editing is hard. Let’s face it. Some people are not good at writing. When you’re given a very poor piece of writing to edit, fixing all the mistakes is a lot of work.
Why I Love Editing
While editing may make some writers uncomfortable, I really enjoy it. Here’s why:
- I meet people. Editing has given me a chance to interact with writers and other people who I never would have met otherwise. Many of my editing clients go on to become part of my writing/freelancing network. My life is richer for these relationships.
- I see people succeed. It’s great when someone whose work I’ve edited becomes successful. I like to think that maybe my editing has helped (in a small way) another writer to take their writing to the next level.
- I help people. I view editing as a way of helping people improve themselves by improving their writing. Communication skills are a basic life skill. The communication tips I share may help that writer in the future.
- I make something better. As an editor, I get the chance to take something good and make it even better. Improving a piece of writing gives me a sense of accomplishment.
- I learn new things. As an editor, I get to learn about the topics of the pieces that I edit. And, as I mentioned earlier, since grammar is not cut and dried, I also get the chance to learn more about the English language.
5 Tips to Make the Editing Experience Better
Editing doesn’t have to be a negative experience for anyone. Both the writer and the editor can take steps to improve the it. Here are a few tips.
- Check your work carefully before you send it to editing.
- View the editor as your helper and not your critic.
- Plan enough time for an edit so you don’t miss a deadline.
- Be flexible and try to see the editor’s point of view.
- If you are an editor, mention the positives as well as the mistakes.
What About You?
What have your experiences with editing been like? Do you accept these types of projects? Has your writing been edited?
Share your thoughts in the comments.