Posted by: faultlessfinish | December 20, 2010

Why Can’t We Be Friends

Long before the thought of becoming an editor ever crossed my mind, I was a writer. High school teachers and friends encouraged me to pursue a career in writing so I considered journalism for several months. I figured if I was good at it, it would make sense to make a career out of it.  Something didn’t feel quite right though – I felt forced into it. I quickly learned  that devoting your life to something you’re good at doesn’t necessarily mean you will be happy.

Then I discovered editing and the proverbial lightbulb clicked on over my head. Even though writing was not the right career choice for me, it’s an activity that remains close to my heart. I write for the sheer pleasure of it. And because of my background, it saddens me when authors begin thinking of editors as “the enemy,” and vice versa.

I was at a local pub a few nights ago and started a conversation with a regular. We had never talked about careers before, and when I told him I was an editor, he laughed and backed away with his hands up. “Oh no way! You’re the enemy!” he yelled. I looked at him quizzically and asked him to explain. “Well, I’m an author!”

“I’m not the enemy! I’m your friend!” I protested. But he would have none of it. Because I know what it’s like to be a writer and how difficult it can be to have your work critiqued (believe me, I hate being edited!), I have made it a point in my freelance business to ensure that authors know I’m just there to guide their work. I’m not sitting at my desk brandishing a red pen and cackling like a witch in the hopes of tearing a manuscript to pieces.

The author-editor relationship is often a fragile one. It’s important that the editor takes a firm stance regarding the changes he or she thinks need to be made, but respect for the author’s original work must always be shown. I became an editor not so I could criticize but because I am passionate about language and want to be a part of publishing a work for an audience.

So listen up all you writers out there! You are pursuing your passion and I’m pursuing mine, but we both want the same thing in the end – a beautifully written work to share with an eager audience.

Happy writing and editing 🙂

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