I have a feeling the Editing Tips series is going to be much longer than I expected. I keep thinking of items that could use 500 words of attention!
Where is all this coming from? Well, frankly, from editing the writing of talented professionals who assume because they did well in English classes or on their term papers, they must be a good writer.
This stresses me out, frankly. It shouldn’t, but it does, for several reasons:
- Having your manuscript torn apart has nothing to do with your writing ability. Even the best writers benefit from brutal editing.
- Editing is so much more than proofreading.
- Communication is part of every expertise, but also an expertise in itself. The best writers have studied and continue to study writing, because continuous improvement is what experts do.
- Editors don’t determine “what is wrong” with a manuscript, but what can make it better, amazing even.
- Your writing ability has nothing to do with your skill in your primary job.
- Likely, your high school English teachers didn’t know what “good writing” is, and unless your professors are English professors, they likely don’t know what good writing is.
- Emulating something that has been published, even well-known publications, does not necessarily mean it is good writing/editing.
Again, I shouldn’t let this upset me, but it’s difficult to be confident about what I do when I am continuously second guessed.
So why post a series about editing? Because the more a writer (properly) revises, the more the editor can focus on the big picture items. If I have to edit “that” out of every page, we are wasting time and, therefore, your money.
Would you pay an expert car repairman to change your windshield wipers? Or an architect to build a box? If not, you shouldn’t be hiring an editor to cut out something you can do yourself. Hire an expert to be an expert.
These Editing Tips aren’t going to make you an expert, but they are going to make cleaner copy and further your manuscript process. Then when I get it, we can get down to the things that will make your manuscript great!
And now, back to our previously scheduled programming.