I Have Entered the Real World of Editing

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Obviously, I have been writing for a long time. Not only has English been my favourite subject since I entered first grade, which is why I spent four intense years earning an English BA, I have always been actively writing and reading throughout my life.

I’m halfway through a copyediting course as I type this. I entered it believing I was merely going to learn the “proper language” of editing because I already had the chops. The further we’ve gotten into it, the more I realize that I approach editing as a writer. And that I am much more of a novice than expected.

As my title states, I have entered the real world of editing–and I am out of my element. I did not realize the change in mindset required to edit versus the one I use to write. They are very different beasts. In retrospect, I should have been aware of that. I’m an excellent close-reader, but it’s not the same.

I’m not terrible at copyediting, which is a relief. But I miss much more on our exercises and assignments than I anticipated I would. My expected weakness reared it’s head: Understanding clause rules and identifying when those rules are broken. Other errors arise because I read too quickly, I struggle with ie or ei constructed words, and my years of typing on the computer have made me lazy when it comes to spelling. I think a touch of performance anxiety is also exacerbating all of the above.

I’m learning a lot, and I’m grateful because it’s all so applicable to the writing I do. And learning editing skills is never a waste of time. I have newfound appreciation for the dedicated editors out there; I am only now grasping how much basic knowledge is required, let alone all the specialized knowledge.

Would I recommend such a course for all the writers I know? Yes! If only so you understand the amount of work your editor puts in. And you never know, you might just start producing cleaner manuscripts.

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