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October 24, 2016

Do You Need an Editor?

This morning I read a book review in which the reviewer’s writing was so careless and error-ridden that I questioned her credibility in critiquing someone else’s work. I stopped reading by the third paragraph and thought, she really should have hired an editor.

Facebook, Twitter, and easy-to-set-up blogs have led to an environment in which everyone is a writer. Content is king and the faster you can get it out there the better. With this rush to report and respond comes two problems. The first, which I won’t get into here, is that these first-response writings are inherently unreliable as they are usually not well researched. The second is that they are often filled with writing missteps.

There is a debate in some circles about whether grammar rules are outdated and as I read I really do try to restrain my mental red pen. I must confess that, while I enjoy a good laugh as much as the next guy, if a company’s informational copy includes more than two or three easily identifiable errors in grammar, logic, or consistency, I am going to think twice about using their services. It tells me, not only do they not know how to write, but they are not aware that they don’t know. They should hire a copy writer or at least an editor.

misplaced-modifiersWhile I am willing to concede that some grammar rules are not crucial, others are necessary to aid readers in understanding your writing. (The favorite example in our household is “Let’s eat Grandma!” The diagram on the right illustrators another common error.)

But before you throw the grammar check out of the window, remember that many of the people reading your writing have not met you. Your writing is the face of your business and putting out unedited content is like getting up on a stage with spinach stuck between your teeth. You don’t want to do it.

So, do you need an editor? At the very least reread those Facebook diatribes before you hit Post. Pay attention to the squiggly lines that signal misspelled words. For longer articles, newsletters, blog posts, etc., have a second person take a look–even editors should have their work reviewed.

If what you are writing is going to reflect on your professional life and/or credibility, don’t cut corners. Hire an editor to ensure that you put your best words forward.

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