Melissa Wardell | July 19, 2016
Since getting to grips with reading in my early years of primary school, I’ve been not only an avid reader but probably even more so an avid writer. English was always my favourite subject at school, and the subject I scored my best marks in.
A year after I’d left school, I did what was then called a journalism ‘cadetship’, and writing has been the main focus of my career since. I’ve seen lots of words, read lots of words, and written a heck of a lot of words.
Because of the many years I’d spent writing, when I encountered my first editing job as part of a communications role within local government, I thought the edit would be a proverbial walk in the park. I thought that all I’d really have to do was correct any errors and check a few details.
The feedback I got from my supervisor on that job was my first insight into what editing truly involves.
What I discovered from my supervisor back then, and what has been reinforced for me more recently through working at Write, was that editing involves so much more than correcting errors and checking details. These are both key elements, but they’re just two of a whole range of elements that form a complete edit.
Editing is all about quality checking. Where needed, editing involves changing and reworking the structure, content, and language of a document. At Write, we edit a document so it’ll read smoothly and accurately, with no superfluous or ambiguous material left in, and no essential material left out.
We see editing as a partnership with the writer. We completely respect the writer’s expertise, and their voice. We often work with topics that are not our own area of expertise. But we’ll ask the writer or the document owner questions, or add comments, if we think the intended reader will struggle to grasp the meaning of the content.
Through the process of editing, we make the author of a document look even more competent and assured than they would without the support of an editor. Basically, when we edit documents, we’re taking care of your words for you, and with all the respect and effort those words deserve.
Editing is the fine-tuning part in the life of a document, the part that ensures excellence. So it’s bound to take time. Consider it the same as the final check of a new car design before the car is ready for general sale — once the big investment has been made, you’d be crazy not to make sure the car’s going to run as planned, right?
I love editing, and for so many reasons. Once a document has been properly edited, its writer can be certain they have a professional, error-free document that’s clear and credible. They’ll be able to present their document with authority.
To be part of the process of getting a document to this point for a client is intensely satisfying. And collaborating with skilled colleagues to get there, through peer review and support, is part of the pleasure of working at Write.