My definition of editor is someone who goes over what I’ve written, corrects or points out the typos, grammatical mistakes and the spelling mistakes. He or she would also be the person who understands what I’m trying to do or say in my writing, how I write and knows when those mistakes of grammar are intended and when they are just bonehead mistakes. They do more, too.
They look at what I’ve written and say things like, “This is rubbish. Toss it and write something else,” or, “This is awful. Not a bad idea, but really bad writing. Did you bother to think this through?”
They know when to have fun and when to be serious. They monitor and say things like, “It’s time for you to shut up. You’re talking (posting) too much.” This is because they monitor everything and, because they do, pick up when the line of excess has been crossed or is about to be, hopefully before anyone else does.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a real editor. For the most part, the editor is me and I think I do a lousy job. I also think the reason for that is laziness – though there is some merit in saying it’s being too busy. I know others have schedules they’ve set up for themselves, processes they go through prior to publishing online and all kinds of other little checks and balances, all of which they’ve created and put in place for themselves.
I’m not like that. I need those things imposed from an external source – in other words, someone else. I’m one of those people who, no matter how many times he tries to, can’t sustain discipline when it is self-imposed. I’ve had assignments in the past where when I ask for a deadline I’m told, “No rush. When you can get to it.” I tell those people to give me a date, even if it is arbitrary. I tell them that if they don’t, it won’t get done.
It’s another reason I want an editor. I want someone setting time frames and setting up constraints. That is how I work best.
Strangely enough, one of the times I most want an editor is when I’m at my best. When I’ve written something really good, be it a blog post, an article, a piece of fiction or web copy, I want other eyes that see with the same standards I have. I’ve found the better my writing is the less sure I am that it is good.
It seems good. I like it. But maybe I’m kidding myself and it’s rubbish. I can’t tell and the more I debate it with myself the more uncertain I become and the more picky I get and the more I “tweak.”
The word ‘standards’ may not be the best to use. While it is correct, strictly speaking, it doesn’t include in its meaning the sense of aspiration. I want an editor that can see what the writing aspires to be and can say, while in terms of standards it fits the bill, it either falls short or achieves what it aspires to be.
Anyone know who that person is? Got an email address? I can’t pay them anything so I’d like them to work for free and be at my beck and call. It’s my Christmas wish.
Would someone get on that please?