Why use an editor?

You’re rightly concentrating on what you write

You are the expert on content, whether you’re promoting your business on the web, or writing a research report, training programme, informational material, article or book. Writing can be hard going. It’s expensive in energy and time – and you want the finished product to read well, to look good and to connect with your intended audience. But the more you know about your subject and the further into the project you are, the more difficult it is to do on your own because – understandably and unconsciously – you’re reading what’s in your head rather than what’s on the page.

Writing is difficult – it’s so different from spoken language

  • It has a grammar of its own that is not the same as the grammar of spoken language, which comes most naturally to us.
  • The audience is mostly unknown to you and you’re remote from the audience – readers can’t easily ask you questions if they don’t understand something you’ve written. And you can’t adjust the content or the language or tone if the reader starts to yawn or fidget as you can if you’re talking to an individual, or presenting at a meeting or conference.
  • The results reflect on you – well or not so well – in a permanent way. Speech is much more forgiving. When we have a conversation, we try to make sense of what the other person is saying and we edit out the hesitations, the repetitions, the false starts, the grammatical inconsistencies and all the other features that make spoken language work but look like imperfections in a written text.

 

Writing effectively entails more than knowing your subject. It’s also about:

  • being familiar with the conventions of written language in different contexts
  • anticipating what the reader wants and needs to know
  • making an informed guess about the structure, language and tone that will appeal to the reader.

 

So, it helps to have someone work with you who can:

  • step back and see the copy from the reader’s perspective
  • consider how you are presenting the content – the vocabulary, style, tone and structure
  • review the accuracy of the language and consistency of presentation.

 

Find out what is involved in copyediting and proofreading.