It’s rare to meet someone you feel shares your creative and spiritual DNA. It’s even more rare to get to work with them. But that is what I’ve been doing recently. It feels like I’ve come home.
We spent a long time talking; I got to know where she was coming from, and fell in love with her project. My input involved writing, editing and proofreading different pieces of text.
All went well. However, when it came to the home page of my client’s website, I struggled. She’d given me her raw text notes, but I still didn’t feel I was nailing her message.
Then it dawned on me. I could write something slick, pretty and shiny. And indeed, I did come up with a few lines I quite liked.
But I had to step aside. Good writing isn’t only about what you read, it’s also about how it makes you feel. It’s not just about great editing, either. Like an over-produced record, too much intervention can rob a text of its personality and individuality. It can feel hollow and indistinguishable from a thousand others.
Whereas sometimes – sometimes – the odd mistake and a lack of polish can give a text a rough-hewn grace that takes it beyond perfect.
Does it grab you by the lapels and make you read? Does it have emotion, heart and authenticity? Does it have its own voice? If so, I’m not needed.
My client and I had an understanding. Hopefully you too will trust your editor to be able to question whether they need to be there. A good one will know when to edit and when to leave well alone. They won’t let their ego get in the way.
It turned out that all my client needed was to believe in her own ability to write her text herself. She needed the confidence to go ahead with what was in her heart, and for someone to tell her it was OK.
Her message was too important to be written by anyone else. It had to come from her. I just sat at her side, cheered her on, and sent her positive vibes.
And I left the text raw.
So what do you think? How do you prefer to work with an editor? Do you give them free reign to write what they like, or do you prefer to collaborate? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to post a comment below.