I was asked this question on Twitter recently, and thought it would be perfect for today’s blog stop. To give you a little background, I have been an editor for independent publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, for about two years now. Before that, I was in acquisitions for CQP, as well as tackling the occasional proofreading job, and before that even, I was published with CQP. I eventually republished the trilogy I had with CQP via self-publishing, and though I had my reasons for requesting out of that contract, we parted ways amicably, obviously, as I am still employed there and have many friends within the company in both employees and authors alike.
Anyway, more on topic, yes. The answer is absolutely yes.
I can say that editing has given me a tremendous advantage as far as my writing is concerned. Not necessarily an advantage over others, really, but more an advantage over who I am as a writer, helping me blossom into who I hope to become.
See, it is nearly impossible to see your own mistakes while reading your writing. Honestly, it’s remarkable just how tricky our mind can be, seeing a missing word because we know it should be there, but not because it actually is. Or skimming over a typo because our mind remembers what we meant to say, ignoring what was actually said.
You wouldn’t believe how often my mind wants to say “bare with me” instead of “bear with me” . . . Um.
That could be awkward.
I’ve sent emails with that in them, even though I know that’s incorrect. My mind is like, “Yeah! Let’s get NEKKID!”
Anyway, the magic of editing is that the more we catch things in our peers’ work—whether in simply critiquing as many of us do, or in a day job as an editor—we become more likely to spot mistakes in our own projects. I can self-edit a hundred times more successfully now than I could when I began writing back in 2009, and I hope to say that has increased in a few years, as I aim to continually grow and hone my craft. That’s not to say I will ever be completely successful in self-editing, because I believe that’s an impossible thing to manage. For anyone—even the most gifted and experienced authors.
But I can at least clean my manuscript up for my critique partners and editors in such a way now that it blows doors off those first few books I wrote, and the painstakingly large amount of effort that went into critiquing/editing those monsters.
And, editing professionally has changed more than just my writing skills or my ability to self-edit; it’s given me glimpses into voice and world-building, and the beauty and uniqueness of each author’s style and flow in a way that just reading an already polished manuscript can’t. My approach to an editing job two years ago is so much different than how I approach a job now. I’m much more capable of seeking out an author’s distinct voice and helping to polish their voice, rather than accidentally trying to insert my voice into their manuscript.
That’s a really neat thing, and the part of the process I love the most: helping an author find their voice.
Thanks so much for joining us, Jessa! If you haven’t checked out Jessa latest YA release, DIVIDE, take a look at the blurb below: