Seven sensible steps to success as a writer
Step 7. Learn to love your editor
The process of self-criticism and constant revision that is the author’s stock-in-trade with each draft of a book, is similar on a smaller scale to what’s required when you come to the serious business of working with a professional editor.
It may by an independent editor you engage on a personal basis - or, more usually in my experience, it’s an in-house editor employed by your publisher. Either way, the judgement, clarity and professional detachment demanded of the author is taken to a whole new level.
And here let me say to every new author, that editors are not just necessary evils, as certain lawyers and politicians may sometimes be regarded. A good editor is an indispensable partner in the creative process: critic, taskmaster, guide and – it is to be hoped – friend.
To be sure, even the best editor may sometimes suggest that you do yet another draft of your book, or delete those gilded words and phrases over which you agonised to your soul.
But words are endlessly malleable; and a fine editor is also a mentor and your support with the rest of the production team. Someone who cares enough to ensure the finished work is the best you can possibly make it.
Your editor’s primary interest may be the book, but surely that is ultimately the author’s interest as well. And thus, when you have a good one, he or she becomes both a trusted and treasured companion on the journey to publication.
Next : Your editor suggests…
Photo: Holding hands by By Elizabeth Ann Colette. Wikimedia Commons