My passion for words and language came into existence when I was young. By five years old, I was reading. At the time, I couldn’t have explained what a code was. But I found it exciting and satisfying to break one and discover what words on a page could do.
Around the age of seven, I discovered another code: words on a metal box in both English and Spanish that described the saltine crackers inside. Unlocking the meaning of those exotic words became a fascinating challenge. And it started me on the road to learning Spanish. Years later, after much effort, practice, and time spent in Spanish-speaking countries, I had a second code/language at my disposal. (Side note: Translating requires me to carefully analyze the nuanced meanings and positioning of words, which has undoubtedly enhanced my editing skills.)
At some point, I realized the extent to which words matter. This idea, which has grown weightier with time, motivated me to write a poem a few years ago.
Two tribes inhabit this world.
One knows the power of words,
the worth of words,
Understands that words are bridges,
Believes that battles big and small
can be avoided
if certain words
are left unsaid.
The other scoffs at words,
Tosses words around
then out like old fruit peels
and other useless objects
to be discarded
in a backyard pile
Needless to say, I’m of the first tribe.
And it’s not only words that matter. Which words are chosen and how they’re strung together also matter.
Why? A text written for any audience other than just the writer should be easily grasped by readers. That is, readers shouldn’t have to struggle to gain the writer’s meaning. My purpose as an editor is to help the writer produce a manuscript or any other text in the way that best links him or her with readers. Because that’s what writing is: a link between the writer’s and readers’ minds.
A good editor collaborates with the writer to achieve the latter’s objectives – especially when the task at hand is content editing (also known as substantive editing).
As a professional freelance editor, I have experience collaborating with writers on novels (for self-publication), nonfiction books, essays, short stories, expository articles, professional journal articles, and web content.