Do you let someone else look at your stuff? Freelance writers can benefit from having editors.
It’s rare that someone actively edits my writing. I have a couple of gigs that involve editing relationships, but, for the most part, I write blog posts and move on.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t need an editor.
When it comes to blogging, an editor isn’t all that necessary. The blog owner scans (I assume) my submissions, fixes typos or other glaring errors, and posts. However, if you write more in-depth pieces, it makes sense for freelance writers to benefit from the work of editors.
How a Good Editor Can Help You
A good editor helps you improve your writing. I’m not the best of freelance writers, so it’s nice when I receive constructive criticism. My writing improves, and I can charge the next client a higher rate as a result. But, even if I don’t boost my rates as a result of my improvement, there is still the element of satisfaction in knowing that I’m a better writer this week than I was last week.
Good editors point out issues with style, suggest alternative words and phrasing, and catch mistakes that you might gloss over. A good editor keeps you on track, helping you focus your piece properly. Probing questions from editors can help freelance writers provide necessary detail and excise superfluous elements from the writing.
I like working with editors that actually improve my writing. It can be a little off-putting at first to have someone tell you to “fix” something, but if you keep an open mind about the process, your writing will improve dramatically.
What about Bad Editors?
Bad editors can still provide good feedback, but it’s not as pleasant to work with a bad editor. And sometimes you run into editors that change things for the sake of changing them. I had a client once who fancied himself an editor. He felt that he wasn’t getting “true value” for my services if he didn’t make me change several things about each piece I turned in.
Many of the changes he suggested did nothing to enhance the pieces, or improve my writing. After a few months of frustration, I fired the client an moved on.
Freelance writers can benefit from the wisdom of a good editor, but working with a bad editor becomes counter-productive over time. When hiring an editor, it’s important to look for someone who offers constructive suggestions.
Can You Edit Your Own Stuff?
For the most part, as a professional blogger, it makes sense to edit your own stuff. Proofreading before you hit publish can be one way to catch distracting typos and mistakes. However, if you have a bigger project, it makes sense to hire someone else.
I hired an editor to read through the book I’m self-publishing. Yes, on a second (and third, and fourth) read-through, I can find plenty of things to change. However, at a certain level, I’m too close to the writing. I know what I meant to say, and sometimes my brain just skips over mistakes. It’s a common problem when you read your own stuff.
If you are writing an epic blog post, working on a tricky piece, or if you have a large project in the works, it makes sense to hire someone with an outside perspective to edit the work. You’ll have fresh eyes on the project, and a good editor might help you make it even better.