Photo Credit: Murder Must Advertise Freelance Editors
Being a freelance editor, I visit relevant sites. Not often enough, perhaps but, for the time being, the frequency I can afford will have to do. The image I use here today has caught my attention because of the modifications made on a manuscript with red-color ink. Oh my, did I immediately remember my first (ten or so) years in my academic career during which period I was such a big fan of red. Red in my outside clothing (not much has changed since in this area), red lipstick (I still favor the color on my lips), red table cloths and red home decor items (once again, not much has changed since) and red correction ink or pencils. Back then, I had not been working as a freelance editor.
So to say . . . my poor students – especially, in my composition courses – would claim otherwise. For I had, in fact, been editing their original work. Not providing corrective feedback, mind you but passionately and diligently editing their written pieces! Now, much has changed since those overly ambitious years of mine in the academia. I am still a college professor and am teaching composition courses – at intermediate as well as advanced writing levels. In fact, I have been an active member of the academia over forty years altogether. About ten years were gone with me painstakingly trying to teach my corresponding classes through a monolithic view of a writer’s life. Getting lost in the process of correcting how and what had to be composed within which framework . . .
The longer years after, taught me many eye-opening lessons. And, I was not even a published writer in that period of time (my first bout of courage ran over me in 2013, when my debut book of poetry was offered to the public eye). Relevance? After my creative writing materialized openly, I began to attain a considerably higher sensitivity for and keener insight into the work of others. Those of my by now totally relieved students of composition courses included . . . All my red pencils and pens were long gone already. Given away. Donated. Thrown into the trash. Some sneaky ones managed to escape (for a short-lived doomed-to-fail self-reign-era) my wholeheartedly adapted mantra: “Off with their heads!” One wonderful day, however, an eye- and spirit-friendly bouquet of greens, pinks, light blues and dark yellows forever replaced the harsh, loud-mouth, intrusive and offensive shades of red. In ink, that is.
To this day, I no longer look at any red writing utensil (though I keep one or two to keep myself in line . . . to use them for my “Note to Self” jottings . . . so that I will not be tempted to open those old Pandora boxes ever again). Are my students happier for it? I certainly hope so but moreover I know so. Their comfort level is way too obvious for me to ignore. How about my editing clients? That question is for you to ask one or more of them, is it not? You are welcome to do so. If or when you do, please come back for another visit to let me know what you have heard. Have I told you how much I love improving myself in every aspect of my being, but in both of my professions, in particular? Those commitments are here to stay for a lifetime with me, in me. As a writer, I would feel unsettled if a manuscript of mine were to travel back to me marked in all red. Why, then, should I ever assume that such doing would be acceptable in any regard to those together with whom I, by invitation only but still, am set out to streamline writings they alone have created in the first place?
I wish you all a mutually respectful and beneficial editing exchanges, including those self-aware editorial interactions you intend to conduct when your own writings are concerned.