Editors play a key role in the content creation process, but sometimes working with them can be frustrating. Confusing revision requests, convoluted feedback and simple disagreements about content or tone can cause irritating slowdowns, and it only gets worse when you can only communicate over email or messaging. Here are some common issues freelance writers have when dealing with content editors and how to handle them.
1. The Overly Aggressive Editor
If you write long enough, you’ll eventually run into an editor who never seems to be happy. You spend hours meticulously composing a piece only to have it sent back with a blunt comment saying it doesn’t meet standards.
Take a deep breath and try not to take it personally. Look over your content again with a critical eye. If possible, read a few pieces other people have written for that client to make sure your tone and style are correct.
If you’re still confused, don’t be afraid to message your editor and ask. Most are happy to provide additional clarification. If the editor is truly rude or nasty, file a complaint with the company.
2. This Isn’t What You Wrote!
Writing is a creative endeavor, and you pour a little bit of yourself into every piece you create. That makes it all the more frustrating when you check back on a piece you’ve submitted and discover that the edited piece bears little resemblance to what you wrote.
This is another good opportunity for self-reflection. Although most content editors will send back a piece that requires extensive work, some will change it to show you where you’re going wrong. Some editors do simply like to put their own stamp on things, though. If you’re working with an editor like that, it’s best to just let it go.
3. The Instructions Are Unclear
Instructions can be confusing sometimes, and it can take time to get the hang of a new project. Many writers fall into the trap of silently struggling along while being too afraid to ask for help.
The solution to this one is easy: just go ahead and ask already! Communicate with your content editors about things that are eluding you. If a project forum is available, take advantage of that. Everyone has been in a similar place at some point, so no one is going to think less of you.
4. The Editor Is Wrong
Sometimes an editor will make a change that you simply don’t agree with. The first step is to take a moment to review it from an impersonal standpoint. Many of these changes aren’t objectively right or wrong, so it comes to down preference. In that case, it may be best to trust the editor’s judgment or at least have a conversation about it.
If it’s a clear error, such as a punctuation or spelling mistake, don’t be afraid to point it out. Content editors occasionally have typos too, and most will appreciate the correction. If your editor refuses to listen, notify someone else in the organization.
Having your work critiqued can be difficult, but approaching it with an open mind is the best way to ensure a healthy working relationship with your editors. Content calibration and good feedback help you improve your skills and grow as a writer, so practice taking it in stride and letting the bad feedback roll off your back.