How to Navigate the Writer-Editor Relationship

How to Navigate the Writer-Editor Relationship

For a freelance writer or editor, knowing how to build a harmonious writer–editor relationship is key to your success. Writers and editors both play important roles in the content production process. They need to work together effectively to make sure a piece of content is the best it can be.

This post will explain exactly why it’s important to have a good writer–editor relationship and then give some tips on how to build one. At the end, we’ll even provide an opportunity for training so you can make sure you’re the best writer or editor you can be.

Why Is It Important to Have a Good Writer-Editor Relationship?

Working with an editor is an important part of being a professional writer. While it is possible to edit or proofread your own writing, it’s easy to miss mistakes when you’re looking at your own work. An editor can provide a fresh perspective and help take a piece of writing to the next level. They will correct errors, check factual information, help clarify intent or meaning, and suggest other improvements.

This relationship isn’t always an easy one. The editing process can be lengthy, and you might not always like or understand the changes the editor is making. You might even be concerned that revisions are being made without care for your unique style or voice. Similarly, as an editor, you might find that some writers are defensive and unwilling to take your advice. This can be tiresome and stressful.

However, if the writer and the editor take the time to understand and respect each other, these kinds of clashes can be avoided. When writers and editors work together harmoniously and efficiently, higher-quality writing will be produced. High-quality work means happy, satisfied clients!

Other benefits could include:

  • Building your professional community – a bigger community can lead to more work opportunities
  • Improving your skills – objective feedback shared between writers and editors can help them both get better
  • Making communication easier – a good writer–editor relationship can help both people improve their communication skills
  • Securing ongoing work – when a writer is working harmoniously with their editor, they can both provide more work (or referrals) for each other

How to Build a Good Writer-Editor Relationship

It’s clear how important a good writer–editor relationship can be. However, it can be hard to identify how to build one. There are a few simple things you can do to make working with an editor or writer as easy as possible.

Communicate Effectively

Communication is important in every type of relationship, both personal and professional. And it’s no different for writers and editors!

No matter how you choose to communicate (email, telephone, etc.), make sure you are polite and communicate clearly and honestly. If you don’t have a personal relationship with the other person, you don’t need to waste time with idle chit-chat. However, a pleasant greeting can help set the right mood for a productive conversation.

If the writer has a question about the edit, or the editor has a question about something that has been written, don’t make hasty assumptions or get defensive if you don’t agree. Ask questions about the other person’s work in a respectful way so you’re both on the same page.

Be careful not to overdo it. Communicating effectively does not always mean communicating constantly. Both writers and editors may have different assignments and clients, so you don’t want to bombard them with too many calls or emails. If this becomes an issue, consider setting up a scheduled time for catch-ups, Q&As, updates, etc.

Respect the Other Person’s Work

Whether or not you agree with everything your writer or editor has done, it is important to give them some credit. Keep in mind that you are both professionals. At the end of the day, you are working together to craft the best possible writing.

Writers don’t need to accept every revision their editor has made, but they should try to consider their editor’s perspective before rejecting something. Don’t assume you are being attacked if your editor has made changes you don’t like. Editors are trained to help you improve your work, and they normally won’t make a revision without a good reason.

As an editor, it can sometimes be tempting to make a lot of changes to something you don’t like, but this runs the risk of turning the writing into something it was not meant to be. You have to consider the writer’s vision and be very careful before making any edits based on stylistic preferences.

Editing requires a keen eye for detail, but you also need to keep the bigger picture in mind and have faith that your writer is working to achieve a certain goal. Make sure you explain your edits, and then you’ll both know you are working toward the same end.

Meet Your Deadlines 

This might seem quite obvious, but it’s very important in building a great writer–editor relationship. Making sure your work is done on time and is of sufficient quality will foster mutual respect.

Sometimes missing a deadline is unavoidable, and that is where good communication is important as well. So just in case you have to miss a deadline, you should know how to handle it.

Achieve the Best Writer-Editor Relationship

If you follow the advice given above, you’ll be on the right track for forging a strong partnership with your writer or editor. But without a doubt, the best way to do this is to be skilled in your chosen role.

If you want to become a great freelance writer or improve your skills if you already are one, consider taking our course. You could gain three professionally edited pieces of work to add to your portfolio on completion.

If Becoming A Proofreader or Becoming An Editor is more what you’re interested in, we can help you with that as well. We even offer a bundle deal if you’d like to learn more about both!

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