How a Good Editor Makes Your Writing Shine

If you’re a writer, blogger, or content creator then you know how much a good editor is worth. They can seemingly work magic with their red (or virtual red!) pens, sculpting and reshaping your badly-written words into something artistic. If not artistic, then at least something less bad! Here are some of the ways they can assist.

View your work from 20,000 feet

There may be some things you’re doing that you’re not aware of. Maybe you always make the same spelling errors, or use too many commas. Oh, wait! That’s me. My editor is always saying to remove commas. Not Oxford commas, of course, but some of those other ones that sneak in there. By the way, I’ve written about writing before. You might like: Content Creation: How to Make Your Writing More Fun.

Do a structural edit

If you know a really good editor, she can actually restructure your writing. For instance, create one chapter out of two, or change the order of paragraphs. Or say that what you’re really saying doesn’t match your premise. He can check the logic of your words. Wouldn’t you like someone like that to look over your work? I know I would!

Use a style guide

If you’re adhering to a style guide (hello, Chicago Manual of Style!), your editor can see that you’re following those rules. Do you like the Oxford Comma? Or are you one of those renegades who doesn’t bother, doesn’t care, or doesn’t even notice (do you see what I did there?)?

Check your grammar

Are you using active voice in most of your sentences? An editor can double-check and fix your writing if you’re not. In some types of writing, you may not want to use active voice, but that’s a whole other story. Technical writers, for example, use passive voice quite often. I dislike most automated apps for checking grammar, since they tend to simplify my writing style. Although writing for 12-year-olds is what a lot of people do, it doesn’t work for me.

Do some unfun jobs

Are you mixing up your bullet styles? Your editor will probably notice and fix that! Do your captions match your graphics? Again, that’s something an editor can check for you. Sometimes your editor has the completely unfun job of telling you your manuscript is trash and you should start over. Would you like that job? NO!

Ensure your formating is consistent

Does your formating change every other paragraph? An editor will mark that up and either you or she can fix it. That’s also an unfun job, but one every editor has probably had to do at some point in their career.

Be nice to your editor

Some of you may have the mistaken belief that editors are mean people, gleefully sitting around with their red pens poised to find mistakes. They are kind people, and they make your writing better! So bring them cookies if they’re nearby. Or send them something in the mail–cash is good, but even a cup of coffee would probably be appreciated. Editors are the unsung heroes of the world of writing.


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