Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Day I Became (Cue Scary Music)...The Editor

After sending out all of those submissions and stressing about how to deal with The Editors who responded, the project I got to work on this month was especially sweet: editing a freelance writer's article for an online publication.

That's right, I became...(dum, dum, dumm)...The Editor. Talk about turning the tables! And I have to say, I was even more nervous making the communications from "this side of the article".

It's one thing to critique a student's piece, or to edit articles written by non-writers. It's another to have a professional writer's "baby" in your hands and the power to change it however you like. I have to say that while I love editing, I don't enjoy doing it from a position where the writer might feel they have to take my suggestions. No, not one bit.

And speaking of power. Even an honest criticism, if said the wrong way and by a supposedly credible source (like an editor) could really damage a writer's idea about the piece or her writing. I'm saying this, of course, as an overly-sensitive writer who's been there.

On the other hand.

There were many errors in this piece that DID need changing & clarification. That didn't mean the piece wasn't good - it was excellent - but as an editor I also wanted to make sure the grammar, etc., was up to the publication's standards. It's just a different perspective on the whole process.

Working from the editor's side is something I'm going to start encouraging other writer friends to do. It's helped me consider my own articles as an editor might. AND - while in the midst of rejections or no responses at all - it feels good to be able to deliver to another writer the message I'm dying to hear, and give positive feedback to keep the good energy flowin'.


ccpl said...

Congrats Colleen! I love editing and agree it is an invaluable act/process for a writer to engage in.

Good point about how phrasing of a critique is key.

Colleen said...

Thank Carmen! Isn't it crazy how the way a critique is delivered makes all the difference? You could have the exact same edits as another editor, but if they're not positive about the piece & where it's headed and you are, the writer feels completely different about the experience.