Being an editor is no easy job, they usually have to work on tons of articles each day and the constant pressure of deadlines can be burdensome to say the least. That being said, having a good relationship with your editor is paramount if either of you are to succeed. However, there is hope! You can make an editor’s job much easier by completing a few simple steps prior to submitting articles (this will benefit both editor and writer). And the faster an editor can get through your articles, the happier they will be with you. If you are a writer looking to improve the relationship with your editor, or an editor looking to focus more on what you do best – look no further. Implementing these simple tips and freelancer resources when you are working with an editor will help make both your lives much easier. I have split the tips into two groups – product, and process (you need both!).
Improving the Written Product for your Editor
Use Your Spelling and Grammar Checker!
This seems all too obvious, but it is surprising how many assignments get submitted to editors with simple spelling and grammatical errors. Almost all programs you use to write articles have a built in spellchecker – use it. Because of this, there is no reason an article should have spelling errors – except in special circumstances where misspellings are intentional. However, if that’s the reason for a spelling error, it’s okay. Part of an editor’s job is to catch those types of errors and be sensitive to the context of the writing. Unfortunately, not all writing programs have a built-in grammar checking functionality (or very accurate ones), so it’s in your best interest to find one that does. Grammar checkers aren’t perfect, but they can help identify some of the most common errors you may encounter while writing – the same careless errors your editor would be wasting time to fix.
It is not a good idea to completely rely on grammar checkers alone. Catching spelling errors is a task much better suited for the computer programs most of us would encounter. Due to the complexities, exceptions, and variances of the English language a grammar checker is not substitute for your own knowledge. Invest in a book about grammar or start reading websites like Grammar Girl to learn all you can about writing correctly. The more you know, the easier writing and editing will be for you and your editor.
Fact Check Your Information
Editors become weary of writers that include inaccurate information in their articles. It’s troublesome because if they don’t catch false information, it could end up costing time and money down the line. Your editor will build trust in you if you fact check your work, so the don’t find any erroneous information. After time, they won’t have to do so much fact checking on their own.
For the fact checking the editor does do, you can make it easy on them by providing references to where you gathered the information. That way all the editor has to do is click on your link to find it. References are also good when publishing articles online – so it’s best to have them anyway. Readers also want to know where you found your information in case they want to learn more from your original source.
Improving the Process for your Editor
An editor is on a deadline, just like you are with submitting your content. As we know, deadlines are important to keep. A delayed or missed deadline can compound issues later on as workflow gets jammed up and your editor is working on more projects than they can comfortably handle. Always submit content on time. If you can’t, be sure to communicate with the editor. Editors understand things happen in life and sometimes assignments will come in late. However, as long as you don’t do it too often, they will likely appreciate the communication.
Use Revisions to Your Advantage
Revisions from your editor are there to help you. The more you pay attention to them and use the suggestions the next time you write something, it’ll be better. Before you know it, your editor will hardly have to make any changes.
Read It Aloud & Come Back to It
It’s amazing how disconnected an article can sound if you read it aloud. You can also find where you’ve missed words. Before you send it over to your editor, read the entire article aloud and make edits as necessary.
Editing right after you write something makes it more likely you’ll miss errors. Your brain knows what you wrote, so when you read it, you’ll miss things. Walk away from your article or wait a day (if you have it) and then edit it.
Ask for a Friend’s Help
Having a friend read it over for you can help. They can give you feedback on how you can improve it and find errors for you. Use this to catch those simple spelling and grammatical errors that slip by. It’s to your benefit if your editor doesn’t waste time with them and instead focuses on more complex problems they are more adept to handle.
The Best Way to Help Your Editor
Becoming a better writer means writing consistently and accepting feedback. Accepting feedback means you need to implement that feedback in future articles (of course, choose at your discretion which to include). However, if you are stuck on doing what you think is right every time, you and your editor will be at odds and it won’t be a successful relationship. More importantly, by refusing feedback you shut the door on a great opportunity for growth. Remain open, patient, and be good to your editor. You will be glad you did when you start to see your writing improve. Writing is an iterative process. Nothing is born in its final state.
What are some useful ways you have found to better work with your editor? What is your relationship like with your editor/writer? Share your comments below.