The Basics: What Does an Editor Do?

Editors make the written word better.

Whether a manuscript, marketing campaign, grant proposal, article, or website (and everything else in between), editors use their considerable skill and knowledge to make writing more focused, balanced, coherent, and reader-friendly.

They are not simply spellcheckers or grammarians. Rather, they carefully consider how each word fits into the overall picture the author is trying to paint, finding ways to help readers connect with the story being told (no matter the format).

A good editor has no intention of usurping your position as author. We simply want to help make whatever you’ve written the best it can possibly be. And did you know you don’t have to accept anything we tell you? The power is always in your hands. All we ever ask is that you consider.

6 thoughts on “The Basics: What Does an Editor Do?

  1. HM Waugh says:

    A great editor is like a magician – taking our own words and moving them around so they sound totally fabulous but are still quintessentially ours. A hard task!

  2. Love: After Hours says:

    How in the heck does one even become an editor? With so much experience required beforehand, it seems almost impossible! I recently joined in an attempt to gain some experience but even then, I still require previous experience. Any helpful tips on how to get your foot in the door when it comes to editorial positions or hell, even gaining editorial experience?!

    • Angela says:

      Honestly, the best advice I can give is what you’re already doing: freelance projects to help build up your experience, skills, and portfolio.

      If you’re just starting out, I suggest targeting college students and helping with things like term papers. That will give you the experience and practice you need and also the possibility of references for more jobs.

      Another route I suggest is pursuing editing as a second, part-time job until you get established (less risk that way). I started by doing pro bono work for non-profits, which helped enormously with building up connections in the community, not to mention honing my editing skills.

      Once you have some solid experience under your belt, you can start targeting actual job postings (try They’ll always say they’re looking for experience, but you can ask to take an editing test to prove your skills.

      I’ve also found this advice helpful.

      If you’d like to talk further, feel free to email me at angela -at- angelabwade -dot- com

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