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The one thing I hear the most as an editor

The one thing I hear the most as an editor

That was a bit of a clickbaity title, so I’ll get straight to the point and not leave you hanging any longer. The one thing I hear the most as an editor:

I don’t need editing.

It’s said usually as an aside, one throwaway comment during a conversation, absolutely not meant to insult or belittle, but it always sticks with me. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and why so many people seem to feel this way. Often it comes from people who should know better—seasoned writers, for example.

Before I go any further, let me say that I understand that not everyone wants to be edited, for various reasons—they can’t afford it, or they don’t take criticism well, or they’re protective of their work. I’m not arguing with those views or condemning anyone who feels that they don’t want editing.

I do think, though, that it’s a statement that is interesting not only to the editing community, but to anyone who writes.

What gets me about I don’t need editing is that even if you don’t want editing, everyone needs it. Everyone who writes, that is. Not in a needing-to-live sort of way, I admit, but in a professional sort of way. Even editors need to be edited. Every person who has said to me so far that they don’t need editing has definitely needed editing. They won’t die without it, and they’ll probably still be successful even with typos, but it would still immensely improve their writing.

How?

@@Think you don't need an editor? Here's why you do@@

 

Removing errors

I mean, obviously. An editor can remove typos that you didn’t see and fix things you didn’t know you were doing wrong. They can also help you to identify recurring errors so you can try to avoid them in the future.

The most important benefit of your editor removing errors is that your writing will come across as more professional, which can’t hurt, right? Plus, sometimes those errors can actually cost your business, like in these examples

If you’re anything like me, you spend a lot of time on your business (or whatever your project may be) trying to make it as beautiful and appealing and—dare I say it—perfect as possible. You probably also spend a lot of time on the writing itself. Don’t let a little its/it’s error bring you down.

 

Strengthening your writing

A trained editor knows how to fix expletive constructions, passive voice, nominalisations ... the list goes on. Even if you’re trained in writing and editing and know about all that sort of stuff, it’s still always useful to have fresh eyes and a second opinion on your work.

If your editor can make your writing stronger by fixing all those little, finicky things, your message will be clearer and your writing will be more understandable and more enjoyable.

 

Tailoring your content to your ideal reader

The golden rule of editing is to make sure that the reader is the focus of the work—that it has been written with the reader in mind. This might include things like language, tone, voice, and style. It might mean that certain jargon has to be removed because the reader won’t understand it, or the tone has to be tweaked because it’s a tad too playful for the ideal reader, or the writing has to be structured differently because otherwise the reader won’t know what the main points are.

The benefit of all this is pretty obvious, right? Usually, when we write, we’re doing it for a reader. And, usually, it’s important that the reader enjoys the writing, or at least takes something away from it. An editor will make sure you’re not alienating your reader, which means your writing will get better results, whatever they may be.

Do you work with an editor? Has this blog post changed your mind about trying it out? Let us know in the comments.

@@The one thing I hear the most as an editor@@

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