Receiving editing…it’s like love

The title of this blog post is a partial quote from the article, “The Better Angels of Our Writing: Good copy editors can save us from ourselves” by Rachel Toor. Here is the full quote (paragraph):

My experience of receiving editing, both substantively and line by line, is that itโ€™s like love. Good copy editors see me not just for who I am but for who I want to be, and they help me get there. They point out what I do well, but they also notice my tics and bad habits and try to break me of them.

Throughout this article, she extols the benefits of having a good copy editor, one who is not rigid in her application of style rules but passionate about helping the writer put out a great, accurate, and readable product. She provides great book reviews of books written by great copy editors, from whom she uses as models for all us copy editors. These copy editors are humble while taking great pride in their work; they admit that they make the same mistakes they often correct in the authors that they support.

In our Technical Editing Fundamentals course that Linda Oestreich and I teach, we encourage editors to be a “partner in crime” and provide editing comments that writers are happy to apply and learn from, because they know that we editors are on their side.

Have you hugged your editor today? Happy editing everyone!

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2 Responses to Receiving editing…it’s like love

  1. Larry Kunz says:

    Nice article. As a writer who sometimes edits (but not a professional editor) I find that the hardest thing is preserving the writer’s voice as I amend the text. What I think you’re saying here is that good copy editors are adept at that.

    BTW, may I lovingly and humbly ask whether you really meant to use its as the pronoun for copy editor? I found that….interesting. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • Michelle Corbin says:

      Yes, indeed! I am learning more about preserving voice in my current role as Web editor, working with a variety of authors around the world.

      And, thank you for pointing out my pronoun ooopsie; I changed it to her. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really should find a copy editor for my blog posts again; I just don’t take the time to have someone else read them before I post them. I tried that for several weeks, but skipped it in favor of pushing my posts out there.


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