Damn it Jim, I’m an Editor, Not a Writer

You know I’m not a writer, right? I’m an editor, a proofreader, a beta, someone good to just talk to about the structure of your article or novel. That’s my real talent. I can take something good and help make it great. I know how to say what you wanted to say, but more clearly. Moreover, I know how to keep it in your voice while still making it correct. I know a dangling modifier from a squinting modifier, an adjective from an adverb. I know how to spell weird words that don’t follow the rules. I know examples of better words to help you make your point, exactly. It’s my superpower.

All writers need good editors. Don’t think you can proof your own work, or your mom can. A good story, or an excellent novel, has had many eyes looking at it, finding things the others missed. The more experienced and trained an editor is (sorry moms) the better your final creation.

Don’t say, “I don’t have the money for an editor. I can’t afford editing.” You can’t afford not to have your work edited. Scroll through a few reviews of self-edited works. Someone will always mention the mistakes and errors. Mistakes make people stop and look at the error. They jar the reader out of your narrative and out of your control. It takes away from the possibly excellent piece of work. It makes you look like an amateur.

Your editor doesn’t have to be me (though, of course, that’s what I’d prefer). However, it needs to be someone experienced, someone not vested in the piece, someone with enough distance to be ruthlessly honest. Someone who notices details. And of course, someone with impeccable spelling and grammar.

I’m an editor, and I still have someone else proof everything I put out there. You should too.

6 Comments

  1. Great post. When I come across publisher blogging about publishing, who then sees my blog, believes me to be an unsung genius, promptly scoops me out of oblivion and soon after my bestseller is in the works, I AM CALLING YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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