Everybody Needs An Editor

One day, shortly after starting my first job that involved a lot of writing, I realized that I worked for a magician.

Seriously!  My boss, another John, could look at a good piece of writing and make it amazing.  All he used was a pencil.

I can recall standing next to him as he looked over my memo that first time.  He changed a “this” to a “that,” reorganized a couple of words in another sentence and handed it back to me.

Naturally, I figured that since he was the boss he had to do something to contribute; after all, his name was going on it.  But when I looked at the simple changes he made, I was astonished.  Those simple changes made a huge difference.

“Everybody needs an editor,” John said, smiling.

That was close to 40 years ago, and since then I have used that line constantly.  I’ve said that to everybody I’ve ever worked with.  To writer friends.  To blogging buddies.  Because it’s true.  No matter how good a writer you or I am, different eyes notice large and small ways to make something good, better.

If you’re writing a novel, drafting a memoir, compiling blog posts into a future best-seller, you need an editor.  Someone who can help polish, perhaps shorten or reorder.  Someone who can tell you if your work makes sense, or if there are areas that need clarification/reworking.  Someone who can change some “this-es” to “that-s,” reorganize a bit, cut, and shine up that manuscript you’ve been working on.


I have someone to recommend.

Karen Kingsley is an old friend of mine who has been a professional writer/editor for her entire career.  For the last 15 years, she has been a freelancer.  Her website is Kingsley Ink.

She’s written and/or edited just about anything you can come up with:  books (fiction and non-), websites, web content, essays, marketing materials, advertising, blogs, speeches, resumes, cover letters, Facebook posts, tweets, press releases.

Karen can help you shine.


Filed under 2017, Bloggin' Buddy Books, Class Act, Dreams, Editor Recommendation, Everybody Needs an Editor, Good Works, Humor, keys to success, Memoir writing, Writing, Writing technique

49 responses to “Everybody Needs An Editor

  1. I wish I could afford a real editor. I have to rely on volunteers from my blog readers. So far, it has worked, but I seem to have stalled now. I am trying to find an agent, but I suck at that too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It might not look like it but I write a blog post and then edit it to within an inch of its life. It doesn’t get published until a few days after it’s written. By then, it’s a sleek cheetah instead of a bloated slug. Well…that’s my intent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does look like it, actually. I normally notice all errors but my own. I on the other hand often post in a flurry and correct later when I see all my errors. Or I don’t. I blog for fun and don’t hold myself out as a blog editor.

      My friend Karen, however, edits books (among other things) and that’s really the reason i posted this. Lots of folks have mentioned that they’re writing books, and I thought I’d mention that I know an Ace Editor.


  3. MY first job that involved a lot of writing also involved a boss with a serious misunderstanding of comma rules. As in, he never met a sentence he didn’t think would benefit from the liberal application of yet more commas. [And don’t even get me started on the comma-splicing! It was enough to drive a new-minted language major mad.] He would give me a rough draft to finish and polish; I would (among other changes) remove half his commas and give it back for his sign-off; he would return it, all his freaking commas drawn back in in red ink.
    Eesh! Apparently I ~still~ get annoyed, thinking of that man and his comma fetish!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I sympathize. Before my memos got to John, they went through Andrea who never saw a sentence she liked. I keep telling my son, whose boss is a stickler, that it will ultimately be worth living through a pain in the butt boss!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my G-d, definitely. A long time ago when I used to write a newsletter, I was always amazed at the number of HORRIBLE mistakes I made in my first draft. But thanks to an amazing editor, I was saved the embarrassment of anyone ever seeing them. I only wish I had one now for my blog– I always find absolutely awful construction about 48 hours later, after everyone who will read it has already read it. And so it goes. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! That’s exactly how it happens to me. The blog is there, and while scrolling down to read comments, I see the glaring errors… For stories, I usually work on them for a while and catch the crap, but most of the time I just write straight and post. And then cringe! Oh well. When I start getting paid for this blog (any day now, I’m sure), I’ll hire Karen to look before I post!

      I still change things when I find them. I told one of my writing teachers that if I ever get published, I’ll be caught breaking into the bookstore with a red pen!


  5. So true! My mother was an editor and I so miss having her and her skills available to me via a simple phone call. My husband tells a story about a boss who was a great writer and a good editor. This boss often asked my husband to write the first draft of business reports for him. When my husband would get his drafts back full of red editing marks, he asked his boss why he didn’t have someone else write the drafts since obviously his work wasn’t what the boss wanted. His boss said, “you’re the best writer we have – I can fix your work, I can’t fix anyone else’s.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • I bet that made your husband feel much better — undoubtedly he’d felt inadequate previously! But most editors aren’t kind people — I know that I am ruthless — which is why I am a terrible person for a friend to ask for comments. Either I can’t do it because I try to be nice, or I CAN do it and I offend a friend. One needs a professional!

      Sorry about your Mom. I’m sure this is one more things on the list of things that twang your heartstrings from time to time…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hats off to editors! I did it once for a friend…for free. Will NEVER do it again for free. It’s not always as simple as this-s and those (depending on the author). Then there are the feelings. Much better to get a pro if you intend to get a Pulitzer! When I write a letter to a store, manufacturer or anyone with a complaint, I always have my husband review. He is great with a few changes that clarify and don’t make me sound like a raging lunatic. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Entirely. true. And, I’d add, even editors need an editor, because you just can’t see the problems in your own work the way you can in someone else’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You are so right! Everyone does need an editor. I’m fortunate that I have a professional editor in house so I don’t have to look far. I would never post anything without him looking at it first.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. THank you for the post. I surely needs an editor.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m with Tippy Gnu – being unedited actually helps some of us – provided we don’t expect to ever get paid for our work!

    (BTW, “another John” has a whole different connotation in my neighborhood. 🙂 )

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is really meant for folks drafting novels or memoirs in the hopes of getting them published. I don’t know about you, but I can’t pay anybody to edit my blogs!

      As for the John comment, it was on thing I couldn’t believe when I started dating my husband, John. A girl with poo probs!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just remember to always write down your first thought, so no one can one-up you.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. You really drew me in with this, Elyse. I love hearing about that One Big Hint about writing. And you are so right about this. It’s not the “Grammarly” alone, although plenty of people can sure use that haha. It’s about what makes good writing pop with intensity. And we can’t see that ourselves because we’re too close to it. Thanks for the tip about Karen!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m not sure your right here. My native untutored, writing skills have always served me whale.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. dconnollyislandgmailcom

    I echo Deb’s comment – it truly is incredible what we miss in our own words (that we would likely not miss if proofreading for someone else). Thanks for sharing the link to Karen’s site.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Deb

    Amazing what we don’t see in our own work no matter how many times we look.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I actually find that the more I look the fewer errors I find. It’s so annoying!

      And I’m not really suggesting folks need a professional editor for a blog piece. But for those who are writing novels and memoirs, it really helps to have an independent, unbiased, professionally trained pair of eyes!


  15. Sure did , I might have a good story but that doesnt mean I have Grammar Nazi skills lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s actually more for flow and to be sure the story doesn’t get bogged down. Lots of books are written in the voice of someone with POOR grammar. But an editor can help there with consistency! Or changing between different characters with good and poor grammar. Like talking with a foreign accent, it’s hard to keep it up.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It really makes a big difference!

      Liked by 1 person

      • When I started as an investment manager, I often had a co-worker review my letters and emails. I wasn’t concerned about saying something incorrectly as much as striking the right tone of voice. That was often hard, because often those letters and emails were in response to someone who was pissed or otherwise upset. Tone is at least as important as fact, at that point. Taught me good lessons, which I continue to learn… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s a good practice, having someone review your emails, especially. That way you not only get the right tone, but you learn the style of the company and how to follow it. And it is so easy to offend someone in an email! (Just as it is easy to offend someone in a post comment, or a Facebook comment, or just about anywhere where you can’t tell if someone is joking or not).

          Isn’t it great to be in a situation where you continue to learn? That’s one of the things I like best about my current job!

          Liked by 1 person

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