Thursday Tips: Edit At Your Will
Since people have found out that I am an author, I get requests to edit their short stories or other writing ventures. It’s hard to say, “Actually, I HATE editing. But I finally did it on Monday when a friend called asking me to edit the first page of his memoir. I told him the truth. Editing a well-written piece of writing can be a joy, but when the work has so many spelling mistakes in it or is poorly written, it is a true chore. Having worked as an editor for a short period of time at a newspaper, I improved my writing a great deal by seeing how well others crafted their prose. Mind you, I was cutting New York Times and Associated Press articles for an English language daily in South America. I was “editing” professionally composed articles.
My advice is that if you truly don’t like to edit, then tell people that. It’s better to be honest than to begrudgingly read something you don’t like.
The same goes if you are a writer and you ask people to edit your work. If you don’t think they will do it with all their heart and will just do it because they feel like they have to, then be honest with them and ask them if they’d prefer you find someone else. Hiring a professional editor is a good idea because a professional can give you an objective opinion. If you can’t afford a professional, do a barter with them or find a retired school teacher who may not charge much.
In any case, be honest both as the reader and as the author.