You may be lucky enough to work for an organisation with in-house editors who can hone and polish your written communications. More likely, your team will have the task of writing, editing, and proofreading all your written communications themselves without the help of a professional editor. If this is becoming too time consuming, or you are not achieving the results you need, consider outsourcing the editing and proofreading.
What is the editor’s role?
Editors are responsible for checking facts, spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and ensuring the document corresponds with your organisation’s style guide. An editor may move information to create a more logical flow and cut repetition. They will also be able to smooth out inconsistencies in style and tone to ensure the communication has one ‘voice’.
Handing over your work to an outside editor may feel as though you are relinquishing control of it. Some people do find it disconcerting to have an editor change the words they have so painstakingly put on the page. You may have also become attached to the way you have written something and can’t imagine it being written any other way.
The goal of editing is to enhance a communication, not detract from it. Although it’s ultimately your choice whether you accept your editor’s recommendations, it’s important to keep an open mind. Through clever use of words, a professional editor can transform a communication and give it greater impact.
What can I expect from my editor?
Whether you are writing a publication on behalf of your organisation or a communication that will carry your name, a good working relationship with your editor is critical. Although a good editor will not hold back from making the needed changes for fear of offending you, the least you can expect is that they are respectful and diplomatic in any communications with you. It’s equally important that you respect that your editor has the expertise you may not have.
Every change an editor makes should be done for a reason, such as to make a sentence more concise, give it more impact or correct a grammatical error. Try not to take edits to your work personally – your editor is not being critical of your knowledge or subject matter expertise. Rather, their focus is on making sure your communication is professional and written in a way your reader can easily understand.
Technical editing expertise is important, but you also need to trust that your editor will handle your words with care and respect. Like finding the right doctor, hairdresser or personal trainer, if the relationship with your outsourced editor isn’t working, it may be time to look for another provider.