From the Editor’s Desk

What can an editor do for you?

Would you benefit from hiring an editor?

Chances are, if you’ve made it to this website, you’ve got a piece of writing. Maybe it’s a thesis, an article, your first novel, or just a few paragraphs you want to post on the web. Chances are, you’re worried that it’s not getting your point across as strongly as it could. Maybe you’re concerned that typos will make your document look unprofessional, or that the way you’ve organized your thoughts is a little wonky, or that the structure of the sentences is clunky. Maybe you don’t know why your readers are struggling to understand what you’re trying to say, when in your head it makes perfect sense.

What an editor does is look at that piece of writing and see exactly how to bring it together into the most coherent possible whole. She can check for typos and grammatical errors — that’s a simple task called proofreading. It doesn’t take very long, and won’t cost you very much. But a good editor also has a knack for reading through your document and knowing exactly how to re-organize or re-word things so that thoughts and sentences flow freely. A good editor can look at a tangled thicket of ideas, see exactly where it means to go, and trim it into the perfect final shape.

The editor’s voice won’t override your own. Every writer has a slightly different style and way of thinking, and editorial work honors this uniqueness. Remember watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy back in the early 2000s? Remember how those guys never made two clients look quite the same — how they looked for clothes that would express the unique personality of each client, only in a more grown-up and coherent way? An editor does the same for your writing. It’ll be You 2.0.

An editor can’t wave a magic wand and turn you into William Faulkner, nor (if she’s reputable) will she write your paper for you. However, she can work with you to make sure your words are communicating your thoughts exactly the way you need them to: with clarity, precision, and style.