All editors are writers but all writers aren’t editors.
I am quite sure most editors will agree with what I said above. Editing is different from writing and it is much more than proof-reading or reviewing. Those who don’t agree with that opinion, may be actually editing the content under the garb of reviewing and it’s time they start calling themselves Editors. With time, experience and bigger responsibilities, writers are poised to assume the role of an editor. It begins with prolonged exposure to a particular genre of writing, subject matter and the writing style followed. Obviously, when you know your content’s context in and out, you become an authority and can visualize the result of the smallest variations in tone and verbiage. With that, comes the attitude required to become an editor. You start looking at “drafts” and start making “edits” to make the copies read better and explain everything precisely and correctly. You begin to identify and remove the excesses. You look at documents from readers’ perspectives. You are the biggest critic.
Let’s try to answer this – How do you plan your editing?
I think you have to be pretty sure about the expected outcome. You try and match the content drafts with your visualization, make edits, rephrase, paraphrase, reorganize to get an edited version. An editor essentially intends to ensure the following:
- Correctness of information
- Accuracy of language
- Logical flow of information
- Ability to grab and sustain readers’ attention
- Conciseness of content
- Adherence to style guidelines
A point of caution for wannabe editors is that you should respect a writer’s style of writing and expression if it doesn’t come in the way of delivering the right quality. All of us know that we can say one thing in so many ways. However, some editors may want to stick only to their style of writing. This can hamper creativity and leave the writers with little motivation to do something new.
On the other hand, writers need to study the edits, make notes, ask questions, and prepare a personal review checklist. Using the checklist would help reduce the number of editorial changes that writers see in their future drafts.
Editing is also Mentoring
Editing is at best a feedback mechanism for writers. It tells them how to put it better and make it pleasure-to-read. When editors explain their edits either by entering descriptive comments within documents or explaining verbally while being respectful, they are bound to influence the writers positively and they are likelier to see rewarding results soon.