While I didn’t make the badge above, it does pretty much sum up my approach to editing. Not because I’m on the attack, but because I want other people’s words to be the best and most authentic they can be. It’s my goal to shape your words into exactly what you want, instead of something you’re just okay with.
And just what are my credentials?
First of all, I’m a writer who has worked with scores of editors over the years. Therefore, I know just how you’re feeling right now, whether you’re incredibly nervous to show anyone what you’ve written or you’re feeling pretty good, but just need some tiny tweaks or you’re somewhere in between. Sharing your work with someone else (for what seems like judgment) can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be once you realize it’s an editor’s job to make your work stronger, not tear it to pieces!
Secondly, after writing for years, I went to the “dark side” of editing and found that it was actually incredibly fun to help other people strengthen their writing! Although I’d been editing documents ranging from CVs to blog posts to bios for people for years, I didn’t fully enter the game until 2010 when I started editing pretty much anything that my international non-profit published that didn’t need to go through the PR office first. This means that I learned how to shape people’s work so that words written by an auditor in Shanghai and a researcher in Mumbai both had the same tone and style. And also that I became extremely adept at pulling what non-native English speakers were trying to say out and transforming their words into a readable report. For roughly 2 years before I published my 2014 anthology, Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism, I worked with 33 contributors to the book, helping them bring out their own unique vision for their individual contributions.
So, all that being said, what can I offer you?
* Developmental Editing: This type of editing is needed before the proverbial i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. Some people need help taking their ideas and shaping them into a book. Others may have written their piece (book, blog post, article, website text, report, etc.) and now need someone to see if it all works cohesively and, if not, how to get it to reach cohesion. The issue of voice comes into play here, too, as sometimes a tweak in that direction can make all the difference.
* Copyediting: The part where: a) the “it’s” and the “its” are corrected in case the two have gotten crossed along the way; b) commas are either wrangled into submission or added where they’re missing (people seem to either go one way or the other); and c) style is noted and made uniform throughout.
* Fact checking: Ensuring that what you’ve written is accurate, plain and simple.
* Proofreading: Reading over the almost-finished work to make sure all the other steps above have been taken correctly. There’s no quicker way to lose your audience’s trust in your authority than by leaving a typo for them to jump on. (And then possibly Tweet at you later.)
Some people work with different people throughout this process. Others stay with the same person, delineating exactly what is needed at each step. And some just need help with 1 or 2 steps along the way, and that’s mighty fine, too.
I also work with people to strengthen their writing by coaching them through their mistakes, questions, and weaker points. This involves taking extra notes along the way so that when we’re done with your work, you not only get a piece that’s presentable, but also a write up on where you can improve, your frequent mistakes, and tips on strengthening your writing in the future.* If you need help with any of the steps above, feel free to get in touch!
*While my goal is to make your work the best it can be, it’s also to make you more confident along the way. I do this because while I’ve had some cracking editors over the years, I’ve also had my work changed by others without being told why it was changed, which might work for the short run, but is frustrating over time.