[how i work]

When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.
Enrique Jardiel Poncela

 

What’s it like to work with me?
Editors have a bad reputation for being overbearing, disrespectful of authors, unwilling to compromise. The way I see it, you are hiring me. Why would I want to alienate you? That’s why I chose the name Word Collaborative. I want to work with you, not against you.

That’s not to say that at times I won’t push you to reconsider a suggestion or recommendation. But if I do, I will explain why. You can expect me to ask questions (in editing jargon known as queries) such as: What do you mean by this statement? Will readers understand this term? Can you clarify this sentence?

If I suggest a change or deletion, it is not to offend you but to improve your writing and your ability to communicate with your readers. If you don’t understand an edit or comment, ask. If you disagree, let’s talk about it. Chances are, together we will craft something better than our individual efforts. I’ve been surprised and pleased by this magic countless times.

 

What can you expect from me?
1. I will treat you and your words with courtesy and respect. You may find that being edited is difficult. Sharing your words can bring up feelings of self-doubt or even painful flashbacks to seventh-grade English class. Rest assured, I do not judge the caliber of your humanity based on your words. As I see it, you are one of the brave few who dare take the courageous step to put your ideas on paper.

I will respect your ideas and voice. I won’t override your words just because I might have constructed them differently. Although that doesn’t mean that I won’t make suggestions on how you can improve your clarity, flow, organization—essentially the effectiveness of your voice. But I will do so with respect and the understanding that ultimately you have the final say about your words.

2. I will explain my edits. I explain my edits so you will understand why I made them: a grammar rule, a lapse in logic, clarity to a confusing phrase, or an inconsistency with the rest of the manuscript. I’m not trying to train you to be an editor but giving you the opportunity to grow as a writer.

I will also point out areas that are particularly well polished, clear, well crafted, and poignant. Learning involves not just seeing where you can improve but also seeing where you excel.

3. I will meet your deadlines. Once we establish a schedule for your project, I will meet your deadlines. Doing so may require you to provide certain materials by a designated time or to answer questions based on the edit.

 

The Nuts and Bolts
Below are some common questions about how I work. Check out the FAQs where I answer other questions about editing in general, as well as, my approach to editing and coaching.

How will you see my edits?
I edit manuscripts using Microsoft Word’s tracking changes feature. That way you can see every addition and deletion I make. I will also insert questions and comments to you using the embedded comments function. You can respond back to me the same way. You are responsible for accepting or rejecting my changes, inserting modifications, and answering my questions. If you’ve never worked with tracking changes before, don’t worry. Just let me know and I will help you get started.

What if you don’t like some of my changes?

Certainly tell me when you don’t agree with a change or don’t understand why I did what I did. I suspect we both have information that the other doesn’t. By talking it over (via email or phone), together we will likely be able to craft a better solution than our individual efforts could.

If my edits changed your meaning, please do tell me. However, if I took the time to clarify a passage it is probably because it was confusing or awkward. As you review my edits, keep in mind that as I read your manuscript I am doing so with the reader in mind: what will best communicate your ideas to the reader.

What is my working style?
Before we decide to work together it is important that we determine if our working styles and personalities will be a good fit. Feel free to email me with any questions you have about how I work or the process of editing. It’s important that we feel comfortable working together. So an email or phone call is perfectly appropriate.