The Philosophy of Editing

Today, as we start a new year, I would like to discuss what I think of as the philosophy of editing. Often authors approach editing with a sense of trepidation, or even aggression, but getting into the right mindset about the process will make it a far less stressful experience for both author and editor. I can’t promise you’ll end up looking forward to receiving your edits, but hopefully you’ll be able to better appreciate what you are getting out of it.

1) The Editor is your friend
Editors are not there to be your nemesis and drag you down. They don’t glory in every red line they add to your manuscript. They’re there to help ensure your book is the best that it can be. They want the same thing you do, so the worst you can do is enter the process thinking of them as the enemy. Rather they are your most honest friend—the one not afraid to point out your faults, with the best of intentions, and without malice.

2) You remain in control
Just because an editor has suggested something doesn’t mean you have to accept it. However, before you reject every change they’ve made, do take the time to mull over each one and consider why the editor has suggested it. If you can’t tell why, ask them. They’ll be happy to explain, and when you hear their reasoning, it may change your decision.

3) Treat it as a learning experience

Editing should also be a learning experience. If you take onboard your editor’s comments and incorporate those practices into your future works, you should find that, over time, the edits you receive become lighter and easier. Yes, you are paying your editor to check things for you, but that doesn’t mean you should take no personal responsibility. The more work you can do yourself while self-editing, the quicker and cheaper the professional edits will be.
Keep these three things in mind each time you receive a manuscript back from your editor, and guide yourself towards a state of editing zen!