Writers and Editors
While building this website and considering topics that stick in my mind, I found one of them was the impact of the editors I’ve encountered. I appreciate that this is a broad term, a beta reader, copyeditor, editor, and all of these different things have their own distinctions, and an ‘editor’ has all kinds of different duties, titles, and responsibilities. But to keep it simple and in keeping with my amateur understanding, editors are professionals that I have found myself appreciating more and more these past few months.
Combing through an entire novel, website, individual poem and compendium for grammar, linguistic checks, and evaluation of the flow of the work are the bread and butter of many editors. That work we may be so attached to that we find it hard to disconnect, that business project or paper we absolutely need to be perfect has a whole profession dedicated to being safety nets. I learned that not only is it possible, but something like 6000 words content a day edited, clean, as something for one client of a catalogue is ‘workmanlike’.
Simply put, they have pretty much universal value for at least anything written. Their services are worth paying for if interested; and if your talents lie there, then there is money to be made providing that kind of service. Not exactly a drought of words right now spanning the internet. But while this is very useful, what interested me more is how valuable editors are for information. Freely. Rather than the brusqueness you might get with a lot of fellow writers, trying to be sold some scheme, or being tangled in a lot of technicals, editors offer a lot of support without that sterile atmosphere or wasting time. Part of their job is rooted in an open, honest ability to question. Could you really even ask your teacher a question if you feel stupid? Most of the feedback you get, even in reports and at work; how accurate is it really?
In a place where employment is uncertain, these individuals share my doubts but possess an entirely different mindset. Where I have heard tides of negativity, I have known one editor shift their entire career, build a website and do so while caring for their own family. Another will just sweep over literally anything you can send, offer you constructive feedback, and not a shred of negativity. Being reminded that I am not one of the bigger fish, that my academic credentials and experiences are dwarfed in many ways by these people is a spur, a handhold for me to reach out and learn solutions and find shared understanding, rather than simply guess, or be at the whim of a given group’s assumptions.
I’m not saying this from a place of sponsorship whatsoever, but from practicality and my own self-interest. These fields were something years of school and university neglected to mention in any capacity, and I would rather share this now due to knowing the worth of it.
I want to mention two editors in particular. Emily D’Souza, and Claire Cronshaw both stand out to me as formative in my writing development this year, and part of the inspiration to write this article. Without their advice, I do not think this website would be here. Editorial insight added to consideration of my methodology, my advertising, where I was in life, and how to integrate myself into the literary sphere, proceeding from a nobody to taking the first tiny steps in a publishable direction.
I never paid a penny to either of these individuals, which honestly feels like robbery because connecting with them put me on the path to a lot of successes. I heard once that to advance in your dreams and within your field, follow and learn from those further down the path; and I believe these people to be proof in practice. An editor may never have composed their own creative works or see them as I do or the average writer. However, they have explored many authors’ work with an impartial view. Like a mechanic, their perception of words, stories lead to an uncanny ability to refine or repair. To use the mechanic metaphor again, I found that for so long I had been driving the car, with no idea how to maintain it or improve it beyond basic functions. With the help of editors, I ask what my work really is, what are my flaws? And for these rather serious people, how do I compete in the workplace, and go past my ignorance by learning from their career path and lifestyle.
By just having the courage to make the connection, let alone asking for help, it builds a lot of character and tells you about yourself. How much do you need to work on socially? Is there not a lot of things you can learn? By opening yourself up to new areas, beyond discomfort at worst, there are oceans of knowledge and possibilities you would never have considered. These people do things I’ve never heard of, and work to a degree of proficiency I’d never seen. A shared interest in literature gives as much similarity as a carpenter to an electrician, and as any tradesman can tell you, the integration and potential for growth by opening yourself up to other schools of thought is good for you and good and for your work.
Specifics and practicals captivate my attention, and I think will seep into the bones of my work here. Because really, any kind of musing, rumination, or interest both has value, and leads to enjoyment when it has a use. In my opinion art has a use, opinions and texts and various forms of knowledge have a utility to them, we are drawn to them because they have value, being more than a reward in and of themselves.
Just a few thoughts, let me know what you think.
My thoughts on this were solidified a little further after finishing the draft. As I shared my thoughts and original script, Claire personally edited this article on the spot, exposing where I need to take more care and a half dozen mistakes in a sweeping analysis that took her approximately four minutes by my count. In addition to discussing a great many subjects and receiving counsel, I believe she is available for assistance if that’s something that appeals to you. I wouldn’t call myself massively connected, but as far as editors go, she happens to be rather reasonable and professional. If interested, the link to her website is here.
Have a wonderful week.