I recently came across an article in the Freelancer “How to Deal With Picky Editors.” It is a good article that gives some valuable insight.
However, I don’t think the article goes far enough. A good editor is a writer‘s biggest asset. When I wrote my book, I had a love hate relationship with my editor. I hated her when I was going through the process, but I loved her after I was finished.
When I look back at the first draft I had written and submitted to my publisher, and compare that to my edits once my editor had gone through them, I am embarrassed. I have looked at my first draft and thought, “I am the world‘s crappiest writer.”
But in reality I‘m not. I just now understand my role as a writer. I roll my eyes when people ridicule writers when they make grammatical mistakes. As if a writer is supposed to have somehow memorized Strunk and White. That‘s not our job.
Sure, I try my best to follow all the rules but that is not my specialty. My specialty is storytelling. My gift is bringing ideas to light. A misplaced comma here and there, not my problem. That is what the copy editor is for.
I can have wonderful ideas for stories. I pitch them, and my editors say, “sure, I’ll bite. Go for it.” I do my best to create the most incredible thing ever written and send it off to them. Sometimes I think I nailed it. Sometimes I think I‘ve completely lost the point. It is in my head, but it‘s not on the page.
A great content editor will be someone whom I can send that draft to and say, “here‘s a first stab at it. What do you think I need to expand on, and what should I cut?” A great content editor should be someone I feel comfortable with saying, here is the story, how can I make it better.
So, when my editor gives me feedback and corrections, I am thrilled. Every single time they do that, it is a learning experience. I learn that I overuse pronouns and tend to stick commas just about everywhere. However, most importantly, I learn how to create a much better story.
So to all the writers out there, fear not. When your editor sends back corrections that leave you feeling as though you have to start over from scratch, just remember…
You are not starting from scratch. You‘re an amazing storyteller. You come up with the ideas. It‘s your editor‘s job to make them accessible to your reader. Embrace the edits. They are good at their jobs. Let them help you be better at yours.
Photo Credit: Wondermonkey2k via Compfight cc