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5 Things Writers Do that Drive Editors Insane


Writers will often complain about picky editors and editors who seem to pull feedback out of their rear ends. Believe it or not, it works the other way around. Writers can drive editors insane, and that’s often why they come off as so tetchy. If you want to keep your editor happy, here are five things you should stop doing…immediately.

Also see: 10 Ways to Endear Yourself to Your Editor (and Boost Your Freelance Career Prospects)

#1 Not Doing Research

If you’re being paid to create a well-researched article, do some research. Your editor shouldn’t find something more interesting about a subject on the first page of Google after entering keywords. Of course, if your editor isn’t paying you for research, go ahead and write whatever you want.

For high-quality articles, however, take at least twenty or thirty minutes to really do your research. The final product will look so much better.

#2 Making Unverified Claims

When stating things as facts, make sure you can back these facts up with a real resource. If you claim a company is the most successful in its industry, you have to prove it with sales figures and other useful sources.

Your editor isn’t asking for long academic references with footnotes and opinions from fifty different industry experts. All they want is a simple anchor link to tell them where you found this information.

Don’t make them search for it themselves.

#3 Raising Issues Hours Before a Deadline

So you can’t get any sources? What if the instructions were unclear? Are you having trouble with this subject? Those are all valid issues, and they’re issues your editor should help you with. What isn’t acceptable is raising these issues close to the deadline. An editor can’t help you and still leave enough time for you to complete the work if the deadline is right around the corner.

Raise issues well in advance of the deadline, so you don’t subsequently miss that deadline and land your editor in a sticky situation.

#4 Ignoring a Revision Request

Nothing irritates an editor more than receiving a new draft without their recommendations addressed. It’s disrespectful, and it doesn’t address the original problem. You’re going to get the same draft back with the problem highlighted again.

It’s illogical to assume your editor is going to ignore it. This is a more common practice than you think, and it slows the project down. The time you spend not responding to feedback is time spent by the original client waiting for their work. It doesn’t leave a good impression.

If you disagree with something, that’s fine. If you don’t understand something, that’s fine. But raise the issue as part of a constructive conversation. Speak to your editor and keep those lines of communications open. Even editors can get things wrong sometimes.

#5 Throwing a Temper Tantrum

Every writer has lost their temper at some point. It comes with the territory of being a writer. Writers firing drafts to their editors will soon come under pressure because they start to question themselves and their employers. Temper tantrums accomplish nothing. You may feel good in the short-term about telling your editor where they can stick their feedback, but it only damages the business relationship.

If you can’t respond to something with a cool head, don’t respond to it at all. Give yourself an hour or so to decompress and come up with a measured response.

Also see: 5 Tips for Dealing with Picky Editors

Writers and editors naturally have disagreements. They also have different ways of working. Make things easier for your editor by following the above tips, and they will make things easier for you. That way you can both enjoy a happier and healthier working relationship.



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