There’s been a lot of discussion on some social platforms I’ve seen in which creators encourage other creators to keep their art “messy.” Meaning: don’t worry if things are misspelled, or if they aren’t as perfect as you’d like them to be, just RELEASE IT. SHARE IT. Let us have your art because the world needs your art, PERIOD.
And while I see what these creators are trying to do (i.e. coax the timid creatives out there to just share their art instead of hoarding it, because most of the time, artists hoard their art because they’re afraid no one will accept it), this narrative to me as an editor is sort of troublesome. I want to clear the air now when it comes to editing for me personally…
no shame in the game.
As an editor, one thing I want to dispel to any of my clientele is that they should be ashamed of the way they write.
I remember being in writing classes, and fearing what any of my peer writers/editors would say after I wrote something. I hated feeling like they’d criticize me more than they’d constructively guide me. So, my goal as an editor is to encouragingly guide the author in the right direction. I’m not here to shame them for not using correct punctuation, or misspelling a few words! I want to lovingly show them the beauty in their writing, and how, together as a team, we can enhance it for all audiences.
nit pick for the thrill of it? NO.
Some people may think editors are born out of a desire to tell people what to do, or to control someone’s story/writing. As not only an editor, but also a writer myself, I can assure you that my goal as an editor is to do no such thing. Whatever the author has written is beautiful because they were brave enough to write it! However, if their goal is to be published, or if they desire to sound more professional, I can also help them with this by explaining why there might be changes that need to be made.
Unless it’s punctuation or misspelling, I always like to explain why I changed the way a sentence was written, or why, as the reader and editor, some things may need to be rewritten in a different way. I refuse to use harsh language (i.e. “This doesn’t make any sense”), but would rather ask the original writer questions about their piece (i.e. “Why did you choose this point of view? What do you want the reader to feel when they read this?”) so that their goal and perspective is clearly read.
YOUR story, not mine.
Overall, my goal as an editor is to get the author’s story told, not to change it into a version that only I would appreciate. The name of the original author is what will be on the piece of writing when it is submitted, and my name will only be as a contributed editor (in some cases, not all). To those who fear that hiring an editor will completely wash out their main topic or point within their writing, I want to assure you that there are plenty of editors out there who do not wish to do so!
I hope that made some things clear. I do support the “just share your art” message, but I also support those who encourage and motivate others to do exceedingly well in their art too! It is possible to constructively guide (I don’t even like using the word “criticize” or “criticism”) someone while caring about who they are, and what their message is.
As an editor, I long to see the author and their writing feel FREE to be themselves, and to get their message across.
Have you ever booked with an editor? What was your experience like? Did it encourage you, or discourage you to book with an editor again? Why or why not?