I am a writer and an editor which means I, too, run the risk of intruding errors in language, grammar and punctuation. I can do with feedback on other elements of my writing also. Recently, a number of my articles were edited by different colleagues. Their feedback reminded me why it’s necessary for all of us to find editors and appreciate what they offer. This is what I learnt:
You do not see your own errors
If you write a lot, you stop paying attention to finer detail because you know what you intend to say and type. We already know spellcheckers aren’t a one-stop solution so it’s important to let a second eye peruse your work. Editors will clean up the text that you thought was actually fine to go.
Not everyone understands what you think they do
I’ve made assumptions in my writing, at times, forgetting that not everyone is following my same train of thought or reading from the same starting point. Editors have been sure to clarify what I meant to say. This gives my writing an edge and keeps readers on the page. It also boosts my confidence.
A change in structure is a good thing
Just moving one paragraph or sentence up or down can make the world of difference and create a smooth and enjoyable read. This can be detected by a new reader, aka the editor, who has a fresh perspective and no preconceived ideas about the content.
Editors appreciate style
One of my articles was improved by making the tone a little more conversational, as was appropriate to the content. Contractions: I am so used to formal writing that I feel guilty using them even in other types of writing! It was a simple change but very effective.
Editors correct facts
At a glance, or because editors also research, they seem to identify those little errors that creep in when an acronym has not been explained, the last word in a title has been left out or the date in an Act has been omitted. They make sure terms are used consistently and correctly, but also appropriately and within context.
So there you have it. It’s so worth finding an editor. Language changes all the time and a fresh look on your work can be that final polish that ensures you shine!