Writing can be challenging—you need to choose a subject, consider your audience, brainstorm supporting points, organize your information, polish your tone, and ensure consistency. Then, just when you feel like you couldn’t possibly read your own words one more time, you have to check for proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting—could the writing process be more torturous?!
This is where an editor comes in, and the more you write, the more you’ll realize that knowing a good editor is essential for a number of reasons.
An Editor is a Sample Audience
Whether you are writing an email, a research paper, or your first novel, you have a purpose in mind for your writing, and you want your words to speak to your audience in the right way. Does your report present your evidence in language your entire readership will understand? Does your cover letter present your best points and sound professional enough to keep it out of the “No” pile? Is your work email brief but assertive enough to get your point across?
If you’re not sure, consulting an editor might be a good idea. Editors are trained to assess whether your document uses the right tone and language to keep your intended audience engaged until the very last word.
Editors are Obsessed with Organization
Nothing kills a message more than disorganized wordiness. Writing makes the most impact when it flows well and is organized logically, each new point building on the last rather than jumping back and forth, which can leave a reader lost. Editors know that flawlessly organized text can help a document shine, so they strengthen your writing by removing empty words and phrases and reorganizing sentences and paragraphs until they flow effortlessly.
Editors are Masters of Formatting and Style
Ensuring your writing matches a specific style guide can be a monotonous task. Whether you are adhering to a guide designed by your company or school or following one of the common guides, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, consistency is key to producing a professional document. Most editors are familiar with a variety of style guides, can adapt quickly to new guides, and are experienced with crafting style guides specific to each document they edit. By having an editor review the formatting of your document, you can publish with confidence knowing that your heading style, margin size, font, spacing, and reference style are all consistent and accurate.
An Editor can Improve Your Grammar Grades
There are so many aspects to good grammar—proper punctuation, word order (syntax), verb agreement, nouns, pronouns, possessives—the list is long, and sometimes, when the words are flying out of your head and on to the paper, the grammar turns out, well, not perfect. Unfortunately, grammar issues can mess with your meaning and make your writing difficult to read, which can confuse your audience and reduce their interest in the important things you have to say. Luckily, grammar issues are not a problem if you have a great editor in your corner. Editors know when to emphasize, pluralize, reorganize, and punctuate so your grammar improves the quality of your message instead dragging it down.
An Editor is Your Writing Sidekick
When you find the right editor, you will eventually be able to send them your document without indicating the type of editing required, the intended audience, the tone, or the style—they will know your needs by heart. As well, a good editor is great a sounding board for writing ideas and questions and can help improve your writing over time.
These reasons represent a small sample of why an editor should be a permanent part of your writing routine. Still skeptical? Try requesting a sample edit—in many cases they are complimentary and give you a good idea of a editor’s style. So, if you think your writing needs help or you want to take it to the next level, don’t waste your time agonizing over sentence flow and question marks, reach out and say “Yes!” to an editor—I promise you won’t regret it.