But not, it should be noted, when said teacher is enjoying her leisure time. :)
Seriously, some folks seem to be intimidated because they know I am an editor (whatever that means to them). They think I’m mentally going over their Facebook posts or e-mails, looking for every little grammatical mistake.
But let me assure you, I’m not even paying attention to your typos or word choices. Really. I have never been a corrector. (My sister may take issue with me here.) I will if you want me to, but otherwise I can’t be bothered.
That said, I expect certain standards of myself … and of Those Teaching America’s Youth. I have certainly wanted to correct some of those handouts that came home from the Boy’s teachers. And when I was much younger I told his second-grade teacher that she was spelling bandana incorrectly (she used the double-n version, as does my fave dictionary—the only time Ms. Merriam-Webster and I have ever disagreed). I told this teacher, furthermore, that there were more important words than Kennebunkport for second-graders to learn to spell. Like, say, discover, wonderful, and understand. (Here are 958 of them just right for second-graders.) Needless to say, regardless of the rightness of it (and I’d rather be right than be president), she was mad at me and made the Boy’s life miserable at school all year. That cured me of correcting; I keep my mouth shut. :)
What about work? Sure—that’s my job. But I’m not sitting over here snickering about your word choice or the number of commas you failed to place. I don’t think, What a terrible writer she is! even if you have sent me the Famous E-mail of Self-Doubt (it begins something like this: “I’m pretty sure this is the worst thing I’ve ever written …”). No, no, no.
The plain and simple truth is every traditionally published author has been through the developmental editing phase. Yes, Ernest Hemingway. Yes, Kaye Gibbons. (My idol.) Yes, James Lee Burke. (Another fave.) Yes, Jonathan Franzen. (Freedom. Loved it. Blogged about it.) Yes, Sebastian Barry. (Blogged about him too.) All of them. And I assure you, each manuscript went in looking pretty much the same as your manuscript. And they all got editorial notes. :) This is how the writing process works.
So let’s put one more myth to rest: Your Editor isn’t judging you. Not your tweets, your e-mails, your Facebook status … and certainly not your manuscript.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”