Finding An Editor
I believe it is the writer’s responsibility to act as editor of his own writing and always has to be the final judge as to when it is as good as it’s going to get before stamping it “DONE”. Nevertheless, it unavoidable that real objectivity about one’s own work is impossible. Also, when reading your own writing you know what you thought you were saying, so you read too fast and miss obvious typos or missing words. Personally, I’m particularly terrible at proofing my own writing, partially because I read very fast, as well as being a very impatient fellow.
This is why writers need editors and proof-readers. Very few people are likely to volunteer for the latter chore, because it is tedious, boring, and requires solid knowledge of grammatical and spelling conventions. Even more difficult is finding a good editor. It’s hard enough to find someone who’ll find time to carefully read your latest masterpiece, but finding someone who understands and relates to what you’re trying express is even more difficult.
Writers and even their best editors are often engaged in more or less acrimonious dispute. No writer likes being told to cut something or that some part of what they’ve written desperately needs revising or that they’ve fallen off the deep end with some bit of florid or overblown phrasing. I know my ego is more bruised by that kind of criticism (no matter how justified) than if someone insulted me personally.
I’m fortunate. My wife, Ursula, is kind enough to take on these chores. And she is extremely competent at both.
She taught English composition at university, and I’ll admit she knows more about grammar conventions than I do. (I call them conventions, and she calls them rules, which is at the bottom of many disagreements.) We may have heated battles about the placement and use of various punctuation marks, but so far none has resulted in divorce proceedings.
And probably no one knows my writing (and me) better than she does, so she is ideally suited to editing my stuff. Naturally her criticisms and suggestions in this role I take more personally, but I always appreciate them and take them under far more serious consideration than I would from anyone else.
So let me end this posting with a public acknowledgement of my smart, kind wife. (And, incidentally, not wanting to press my luck, I’ve been trying to proof and edit these blog postings without her assistance. So blame me for any screw-ups.)