Editing is not just something that you should think about when you have written a short story, poem or novel. Don’t forget that it is vital in non-fiction and non-creative forms of writing, such as essays and assignments. Students, journalists, authors … all need to be able to recognise how crucial editing is and how much time and effort should be put into it.
May has been all about editing on this blog. We have focused on editing for creative writing purposes, because that is the main focus of this blog, but what we have discussed applies to other forms of writing as well. If you wish to look back through the posts, then we have talked about: the importance of editing for writers, what we should look for when we are editing our writing, how we can edit our writing, and finally when we should edit our writing. However, one thing that many writers get confused by is the difference between editing and proofreading.
If you have looked into paying for a professional editor before, then you may have encountered this problem. Should you get an editor or a proofreader? What does each one do? Even if you are editing your own writing, you should know what proofreaders do and what editors do, and how they are different, because these services are essential to you. You will likely be doing a bit of both. Let’s have a look at a general overview.
Proofreading is a more general service than than editing. It corrects errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formal. It also ensures a consistent form of language is used, for instance that British or American English is used throughout (and not a bit of both). If you are editing your own writing, then you are probably actually doing more proofreading than editing. However, the fact that proofreading is a simpler service does not mean that it cannot provide you with submission- or publication-ready material. It allows you to correct everything that needs to be corrected.
Professional editing is a more thorough process than proofreading. It still removes errors and inconsistencies in your writing, but it also looks deeper at the way that you write, the expressions you use, and the clarity of your writing. Think about whether what you are reading back to yourself makes sense. Think about whether it logically follows from the previous sections. These are not easy things to spot in your own writing, so take your time to notice them. Editing can help you to remove unnecessary words, and it keeps the tone and quality of your writing consistent throughout.
There’s a great deal more information out there on proofreading and editing that can explain the differences between them in more detail. If you want to look into them further, then I suggest you consult the professional editor’s or proofreader’s website.
This month’s theme is EDITING. If you have written something that you would like me to share on this blog on the theme of editing, then please post a link in the comments or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Editing.