Congratulations! You’ve just finished your project or story. Now what?
Well, you’re probably going to want to read through it again, and make changes before you make your final submission.
The tendency for inexperienced authors is to either give their writing a “once-over” before they submit it or send a copy to their friend, parent, or boyfriend to look it over. These writers will often believe that they’ve taken on the role of an editor to polish their work, but have they?
Let’s look at this from a different aspect. You are writing an article for a newspaper and let’s say you have some experience doing so. You’re working within tight deadlines, and to make sure you’re fitting within the style guidelines for your article you revise some text. Is this editing?
Semantically, “revisions” and “editing” may seem the same, but they’re really not. When a writer re-reads his (or her) work to make changes: that may qualify as a “revision.” An editor’s role is often multi-layered and the professional ones often wear many hats–regardless of the industry the editor is working in.
An Editor’s Role
What does an editor do? Well, many editors look at the work from a 10,000 foot view once it’s submitted, to ensure that the content fits the goal of the publication. Let’s look at an example of how this might work. Say you’ve been hired by a non-profit agency to write a grant proposal. Once your work has been submitted, an editor will read it over to ensure that it meshes with the business’ expectations of what a proposal should look like, and whether or not it best represents their agency. In this way, a professional editor is required to understand the market not from an individual “project” perspective, but from an aggregate view of those projects.