Writing is the first hurdle.
Getting your edits done is the second.
You think you’re all done with a project and then…Ha! Nope. You’ve got some re-writing to do.
I bet this has happened to you before.
Ever opened a link from an editor and thought, “OH NO… WHY ARE THERE SO MANY COMMENTS IN THIS GOOGLE DOC!?”
A nervous sweat breaks out…you thought what you turned in was good…what went so wrong? Did you misunderstand the direction you were given? Are you not as familiar with the client as you thought you were? Are you losing your writing edge?
The struggle is real when it comes to handling edits. Let’s talk it out.
It’s Not About You
First of all: We need to understand that edits are 9 times out of 10 not a personal attack.
The thing is—writers often feel personally connected to what they write, no matter how trivial the subject matter. So when we see comments about how sections “aren’t quite hitting the mark” or “need cleaning up” they feel like tiny, hot knives in our little writer hearts.
So although it might feel like it sometimes—editors are not out to hurt our feelings. They’re out to make the writing stronger, better, and more clear.
Let’s all get on the same page about this right now:
When you see comments like, “It didn’t work for the client,” it isn’t the same as “It wasn’t good.” That’s a matter of taste, not a matter of quality.
If you’re a writer who works from home, alone, without anyone around to say, “Hey dummy, snap out of it! You’re looking at this the wrong way,” you can very quickly begin to question your abilities, your career path—you see how the spiral of negativity begins.
Remember this the next time you struggle with the editing process. It’s not about you—it’s about the writing, the project itself, and the objective for the client. Remove yourself from the equation, and it gets a whole lot easier to deal.
You Will Get the Occasional Aggressive Editor
My pal Emma and I talked a while ago in our Blab chat about how, every once in a while, you’ll get an editor whose comments just aren’t very constructive. Instead, they’re kind of angry, negative, and sometimes—straight up mean.
They leave comments like, “What even is this????”, or “This is BAD. Fix IT!!” that are riddled with capital letters, multiple punctuation points, and general unveiled angriness.
These aggressive editors are rare, and the relationships with them often are brief and tumultuous, much like those of the dating type. Instead of sharing what elements they do and don’t like, as well as constructive direction on what needs to be fixed, they comment on how you’re a generally bad writer, a stupid human being, and a waste of time.
When you come across one of these gems—RUN. I’m serious. Be professional, but as soon as those red flags go up, part ways. They’re not mad at you. They’ve got other things going on, and you’re the punching bag. Time to go.
Take on Your Edits With Zeal
Edits from a talented editor are exciting. They elevate your writing from good to great.
I remember the first time I got back a set of comments from an amazing editor. I was completely blown away by how much better the piece was by her suggestions. We’re talking, like, 10x better by just a few comment and tweaks. Now that’s a gift.
And herein lies the beauty of the editing process: When you approach it with the right attitude, you can accomplish something wonderful. Working with smart people, you can produce a piece that’s helpful, valuable, funny, and smart (if you’re lucky.)
The ultimate bottom line: Don’t fear the editor, the editing process, or edits in general. You got this.
This article originally appeared in my newsletter, A Cup of Copy. Sign up and get these free tips sent right to your inbox every other Wednesday.