Editing is a huge responsibility. As if it isn't enough to manage the final draft, editors also have to tread lightly and try to help writers without hurting their feelings. It's a difficult job, but it can be rewarding.
Editing isn't my favorite task, but the most important goal is to strengthen the writer's voice and help them soar. Editing should never dilute a writer's voice. These written voices are as distinct as our spoken voices.
As an editor, it's not our job to make someone's work similar to our own. If you can't think of a better reason to fix something than, "It would sound better if," you might change the author's voice too much.
Collaborating (whether you're an editor, a writer, or a client of some other kind), can always be difficult. Everyone we work with has a different personality, a different set of values, and different goals.
When editing or collaborating, it's always important to point out the strengths of the work. Let your writer know in what areas they're succeeding. Remember, we're not trying to make the work unrecognizable; instead, we want to strengthen the work. "Your document could be stronger if..." is a great opening line to deliver before dumping a pile of constructive criticism on someone.
Positive language can go a long way to improving collaboration skills. Keeping communication open and being completely clear about what you're working on together will always help collaboration. Even if you think something is obvious, point it out. You always want to be on the same page.
It can be destructive for a collaborative relationship if you edit too much or too little, if you over-step your bounds, or if you don't live up to expectations.
Communicating clearly is crucial to successful editing and collaborating.
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“I’d like to be remembered as a copywriter who had some big ideas. That’s what the advertising business is all about. Big ideas.”
- David Ogilvy