I am hope this out of the blue and a rather off shoot post will come in handy for writers while they are editing their next post.
Editing forms as an important component of writing because it helps you to fix mistakes, be they grammatical, composition errors, omission of words, etc. Finally, nobody wants to read misspelt or imperfect web copy; wrong grammar, poorly composed sentences etc happen to be huge put offs because they give a certain impression about the writer; it looks as if the writer’s knowledge and skills to express are less than perfect; and nobody is looking for anything like that.
Apart from the above mentioned faults, there are other kinds of mistakes too. For example, when you re-read what you’ve written, you may come across violation of connection that may be required to bridge.
Mistakes are part and parcel of writing. The point is they should be fixed before presenting it to the consumer. Mistakes happen for a range of reasons, sometimes the writer may be find appropriate word or expression for something; and sometimes also because the speed at which we type and the speed at which our mind is thinking and transforming information into words are not the same; as a result of this we may sometimes skip to type some words; also, sometimes we are in a hurry to jump from one topic to the other which while reading comes to the notice and sounds out of sync; all these things are taken care of at the editing stage.
Sometimes the information becomes so lengthy that as it progresses in length and words, it may sometimes lose component of human connection. An editor’s job is to rectify it. Editors should not limit their skills merely to checking spelling, altering sentences, formatting, and grammatical errors in the copy. A good editor will look beyond the basic bookish level flaws.
A real editor is a Communications Specialist and his job is to bring copy written by Information Specialist to life; it’s his job to add soul to the article, essay or whatever that s/he is working on.
Just like we may sometimes skip important words, we may also sometimes miss out on connecting two topics that we are talking in the same context/article. This also happens for the same reason – that our mind is transforming information at a different speed than the instructions t it is able to delegate to our fingers to type.
An editor has to be able to identify the flaw; and then seamlessly connect everything without compromising the basic message that the writer is aiming to convey; or without causing any confusion to the reader.
This also means the editor has to be well versed with many different subjects, and know about reader’s pulse. He should know how a certain type of reader likes his content to read; and how he doesn’t.
A good editor knows about the tones and temperaments of various kinds of readers, and it’s for him to ensure that what he is given to edit; its final output ultimately resonates with the reader it is being written for.
While I am saying all this I don’t mean to say that writers can’t be editors; on the contrary my personal belief is that if writer is not an editor (or vice versa – barring exceptions) it won’t work well. However, everyone thinks differently and everyone is as right about it as any other.
The last tip is based on my own experience of writing for so many years. I have a suggestion, that after everything is edited and approved of; when the copy gets finally published and goes live; read it just one more (and last!) time. When we read it live, it’s a very different experience from reading the same stuff in a word file.
I don’t know how it happens or what is that extra sense that starts working; and where it comes from, but it matters. Some changes look so obvious, when seen in live environment. It’s an experience, not something I have learnt from books or have known after reading some article online. It’s an experience, and I will suggest you too experience it to take the feeling home.
( While I edited this post I have interchanged entire paragraphs because they looked out of sync; opening sentence was in between 2nd and 3rd paragraph that I thought would make a better opening line.. and so much more.)
Enjoy your writing, and become better at the craft. Wishing you all the very best.