Working as a writer for the past 20 years, I have had the privilege of working with some great editors. Whether they know it or not, these editors played an instrumental role in molding me into the writer I am today. While their comments and suggestions often resulted in some very long evenings at the office, the result was inevitably a better written piece. The insights they shared with me were invaluable to my growth as a marketing writer. Later in my corporate career (in the late 1990's), I also had the opportunity of coaching and editing less experienced writers and hopefully was able to make a difference for them as well.
As marketing becomes more content-centric, I began to wonder whether this model of editing is still relevant. In today's socially-networked online world, it seems like everybody has become a writer, blogger, tweeter, etc. Not only are people generating and publishing content themselves, they are doing it with unprecedented immediacy. What is the role of an editor in today's online world?
With keyword-laden SEO articles being cranked out for pennies, online content is becoming commoditized. The unfortunate result is that the overall level of writing has suffered. Quantity seems to be trumping quality, as you no longer have to be a professional writer to create and publish your own content.
Ironically, just when we need good editors the most, it seems like editing has become a lost art. Today it is harder to find a skilled editor than a competent writer. This does not bode well for those of us who appreciate thoughtful written expression and delight in the pleasure of a perfectly constructed sentence.
Do you have a personal story about editing? Has editing become a lost art? Share some of your experiences working with great editors.