Having already described the various types of editing in the marketplace, in this tab I would also like to describe other tools, or strategies, I find invaluable in offering a professional editing service to my clients. Since my role is to assist writers in their own self-editing, perhaps these tools may be educational? It is common for a professional book editor to cite their qualifications, look to their style guide and resources on grammar, and rely on the latest software to support their work. But I feel that even though these elements have been important to me, more has been required in order to really get to the heart of editing, to put myself into the flow of writing as a discerning reader and offer valuable advice.
WHAT IS EDITING?
It is interesting to find that, professionally, there are many fields of editing; video and film editing, photo and image editing, book editing, among others. Each field would have its specific tasks and guidelines, however broadly speaking there is a purpose to editing regardless of the specific field in which it is applied. Editing makes a work of art, no matter what that work is, more refined, clear, brilliant, seamless. It is also an invisible service; extremely great editing cannot be noticed in the finished product.
So editing is a process of improving something. Seemingly a simple task, right? Well, not necessarily because this task can require buy-in from all stakeholders. It can also require respectful working relationships and tact. Rather than undermining or destroying the work writers do on projects, editing should always build on positives effectively to enhance this work.
THE SINCERE DESIRE
Perhaps fundamental to the success of editing is the sincere desire of the artist to reflect on their work. I remember in my MBA, a task in one class was to do just this. It wasn’t an exercise that students took to readily at first. But this task was to reflect on the month just past, on what they’d achieved, what was most meaningful and reflect on how this achievement can help them in the future. It’s a valuable exercise generally to review the work we do, to take stock, see events in the light of the fresh perspective new situations and circumstances offer for our personal and professional growth. It may even be true to say that without this necessary step of reflection, we don’t progress. But that’s just my opinion. How about yours?
A common saying is that in order to understand anyone, one has first to walk in their shoes. As a book editor, other editing tools I use in my business can be summarised as follows: reading, writing and publishing. I read to put myself in the reader’s shoes. I write to put myself in the writer’s shoes. And I always keep the purpose of the writing in my mind: publishing. It is these elements I’d like to explain further as the additional editing tools I use to support the service I offer for my clients.