Fiction or non-fiction, blog posts or marketing materials—all types of professional writing can benefit from an editor’s touch!
It’s a common thought among those who write in their professional lives: “Why would I hire an editor? It looks pretty good to me. I can read it over myself to find any typos or errors.” It’s true, what you’ve written may be just about how you’ve envisioned it—but here’s another truth: an editing professional can bring it from pretty good all the way to outstanding!
Here are 7 good reasons you should hire an editor for your written work:
1. An editor brings fresh eyes to the revision of your materials.
When reviewing your own work, it can be hard for you to notice every error or typo. You know the work so intimately that you end up with what I like to call “writer’s eye”—you just don’t see errors that may jump out to someone else. The more you read it over, the more you lose the ability to notice these mistakes. Your editor brings a new set of eyes to the revision and typo-hunting stage of your writing.
Further to this, in the effort to make a particular point and find just the right words to get your message across, you may have missed a fresher or more concise way to say what you’re trying to say. When you write you can develop a sort of tunnel vision that doesn’t allow you to see other (maybe better) ways of expressing your message to your audience. A professional editor will come to your work with a different perspective, which can pull out stronger ways to get your message out there. (Funny side note: when writing this paragraph, I fell into exactly this—I got stuck on a less-than-clear way of trying to explain my point. It took a lot of re-reading and revising before I realized that there was a better word choice out there!)
Even editors themselves are best served using fresh eyes to go over their writing—missing our own mistakes is just part of the fallibility of our human minds.
2. An editor is trained to see issues where you may not.
Similar to the point above, but different enough to warrant its own number on this list, is the fact that a professional editor is trained and skilled at finding errors where they are hiding. Editors know the tricks they can use to catch easily missed typos or grammar issues. They have the experience to know what to look for, and they know to question everything.
Editors have the skills that allow them to do more than just catch and correct mistakes like the wrong “there, their, or they’re;” they’re trained to find and fix structure problems, grammar issues that are hiding in plain sight, and anything else that may weaken your message.
3. An editor will sit with a dictionary and necessary style guide (or multiple ones) at hand.
An editing professional is ready to check and double check whether everything is perfectly correct. While they do have the training and skills needed to suss out any issues, they also know that to rely only on their own experience and knowledge would be foolhardy. They will use multiple dictionaries and style guides, and any other resource available, to make absolutely certain that the word you used is the word you meant to use, and that style and grammar rules are applied consistently throughout.
It’s in the job description, and they enjoy doing it!
4. An editor will apply consistency, which lends credibility and professionalism.
Consistency is not the first thing you will be focused on when you are working on a written project. It’s not an easy thing to keep in mind while writing, since your main focus is (and should be) your story or message.
Should your document be written using Canadian English, American English, or British English conventions? Will it employ the oxford comma, or not? How should a particular title be abbreviated, and what will be capitalized and when? All of this is within the editor’s domain to figure out and apply.
An editor will use a style guide or your style sheets for the project, and they will follow them to the letter, which will give a smoother and more professional feel to your material.
5. An editor will find just the right words to make your message pop.
Sometimes when you’ve written a piece it’s hard see outside of your choices. Sometimes you’ve chosen the perfect word, but a different sentence construction will clarify your meaning. Sometimes the perfect word is out there for what you want to say, but it was not the first (or second, or third) word that came to mind when you were writing.
It can be hard to see what the other options are once you’ve chosen a direction. This is what your editor is there for—they will come in with a new perspective and a different set of skills, and they can come up with the perfect way to say what you’re trying to express.
6. An editor is trained to preserve your voice.
The above point brings up the potential for concern that involving an editor could change your piece into something that’s no longer “yours”. Not to worry—an editor is trained to preserve the voice and tone of your work, while fixing any problems and helping your message come through loud and clear!
7. An editor knows when to break the rules and when to hold fast.
Part of the job of a professional editor is to stay aware of writing, grammar, and word usage trends. The world of writing and grammar is always evolving; usage changes over time, and some of the rules that seemed set in stone when you were going to school may have been loosened up or thrown out altogether.
With knowledge of the most up-to-date evolution and trends in language use, your editor will be able to recognize the right time to mix it up and actually use that preposition to end a sentence (with). Allowing an editor to tweak your work will allow it to stand out as smooth and professional without letting outdated writing rules drag it down, sucking the life and personality from your written materials.
So, do you want your writing to be the best it can possibly be? Don’t risk losing your message to grammar errors, inconsistencies, typos, or outdated rules—hire a professional editor and let your words shine!