You’re a marketing expert, not a writer. In any case, whatever your job title, odds are good that you don’t exactly look forward to handing your writing over to an editor. Maybe it’s the memory of a particular red-pen-wielding third-grade teacher, or a particularly embarrassing typo in an important presentation. Or maybe you’re just a human being who likes to get things right the first time.
I get it. As a writer and an editor, I’ve spent a lot of time on both sides of that often-fraught relationship. To bring my most creative self to my writing, I need to lock my inner editor in her cage. And to do my best work as an editor, I must channel my inner perfectionist—the one who derives inordinate pleasure from a perfectly loaded dishwasher.
(Maybe I should have titled this piece “Editors: Not actually as neurotic as we seem.”)
Hmm. Let’s start over.
When it’s working, the relationship between writer and editor can be incredibly rewarding for both parties. Think of your editor as containing multitudes—an extensive team of experts devoted to helping your work shine. Just a few of the roles we take on in the course of the job:
And if none of that works? You have my permission to imagine your editor much as I am now, in a ripped T-shirt and old yoga pants, hunched over my laptop with a cold cup of tea at my side. No red pen in sight. My hair’s sticking up a bit on one side, where I’ve been pulling at it as I think. I’m going over each word of my favorite client’s latest work one more time, helping to make it the best it can be.