Some writers hesitate to admit they need the help of an editor because they think it reflects negatively on their writing ability. “A good writer shouldn’t need an editor,” they think.
Aspiring writers hoping to have their stories or articles published may think editing is the job of the publisher’s editorial staff.
Businesspeople preparing proposals, manuals, or other business documents may believe that the content of the message is important, but details like grammar and punctuation don’t matter.
In fact, however, every writer needs an editor – either a professional editor or simply another person who has good writing skills and an eye for details.
A friend of mine says, “I can catch everyone’s mistakes but my own.” And that is true for all of us because when we write, we know what we mean. We overlook a misspelled word because we know the correct spelling; we just didn’t realize our finger hit the wrong key. We don’t notice a mis-used word or a confusing paragraph because when we re-read the document we automatically read what we meant to write. We can’t see some mistakes because we each are prone to particular errors – I’m notorious for leaving out words, for example. Most of us do a poor job of catching our own mistakes, so we all need an editor.
Those writers who think asking someone else to edit their work makes them look like a bad writer would change their minds if they understood that the errors in their document may reflect badly on them, but having their work edited makes them look good.
Aspiring writers who think the publisher will provide all the editing needed on their work will learn quickly that publishers generally don’t waste their time reading submissions that are filled with errors or that are confusing or hard to read.
People writing to communicate in business will find that their documents are more effective if they are well-edited so readers understand the message rather than notice mistakes or question the meaning.
Who needs an editor? Anyone who writes to be understood, that’s who.