Lessons You Can Learn From Your Copy Editor

Lessons You Can Learn From Your Copy Editor image copy editing 276x300Lessons You Can Learn From Your Copy EditorIt is not always easy to handle criticism. Writers can be egotistical and possessive of their work. To them, a copy editor is someone who is overly critical and has the goal of destroying any kind of creativity and uniqueness in a writer’s masterpiece. But a copy editor and a writer don’t have to be at odds. If you have the ability to work with a quality copy editor, you should show him or her respect.


When an editor reviews your writing, you should see it as a learning experience. No one is perfect and everyone’s writing has room for improvement. If a writer does not grow in his craft, he can become stagnant and even get left behind as times change. An author who sees his job as a way to constantly hit goals and grow will be one who is able to enjoy the higher levels of his craft.

When an editor insists that certain changes should be made it is okay to ask him or her to explain these comments. This helps you improve not only the piece you are working on, but future content for the same project. Also you should ask what he or she thinks that you should do to improve your writing. Editors will be able to see things from a perspective that even fellow writers can’t achieve. If you use critiques as educational tools, you will advance in your position.

Let Go

The thousand-word article that you just wrote is not your fifth-grader going off to their first day of kindergarten. While it may feel like that at times, writers need to learn how to let go of their writing. No one likes to hear criticism regarding their child and writers don’t like to hear that something they created is not perfect. It is too easy to take the information personally.

There are some copy editors that are strict or terse in their feedback. If you are working with one of those, there may be many times when you will have to take a deep breath or walk away from the computer before you reply. If they aren’t being intentionally rude, you need to respond to them in a professional manner. Otherwise the resulting communication can become about personality clashes and not the content.


The copyeditor has to review your work with the best interests of the company at heart. Editors have to make sure that what you create will make a positive impression on the organization’s customers and leads. That is the point of view that they will be taking when they are looking at your writing.

When creating your piece, you should also try to understand how the content fits with the company’s objectives. You also need to take a look at the project from the reader’s point of view. If you create your text with these two objectives in mind, your thinking will be more in line with the thinking of the editor. Less editing will be needed and the overall quality of the work will improve.


The content that you write does not exist in a vacuum. It has to fall in line with the objective of that one piece and the overall goal of the company. There may be elements of the company’s goal that you are not familiar with. A copy editor often works with several different writers: bloggers, press release writers, copywriters and even social media writers. That editor may have a better overall view of where your piece fits into the puzzle than you do.

Therefore, you may not always understand why an editor needs changes completed on certain content. It is important for a writer to understand the overall goal of the company. If you don’t understand why an editor has made a request, ask. The more you know about the company, the better you can create content that fits its needs. This will help the organization in its marketing efforts and help you as a writer continue working with the business.


Most writers do not intentionally plagiarize the work of others. However, some people don’t take careful notes or when doing research certain phrases may stick in an individual’s head without them realizing it. One of the main tasks of a copy editor is to avoid plagiarism. This helps to protect you as a writer as well as the organization. Editors often use tools such as Copyscape to double-check your work.

If an editor returns content to you for rewriting and says that a certain area mimics content that is already published, don’t argue. They’ve checked and found proof that they are right and you are not. Instead, try to determine how to rephrase what you have written and use as much of your own words as possible. Or, if there is no way around writing what the person said word for word, either put it as a quote or attribute it to the original author.
Lessons You Can Learn From Your Copy Editor image editing facts 300x200Lessons You Can Learn From Your Copy Editor

A copy editor is also there to help double check facts. When doing research, writers can sometimes become confused or misinterpret certain information. It is also sometimes possible for them to not explain something clearly. A copy editor will check all of the facts that you put in content and make sure that they are accurate.

If an editor returns work to you with the notes that facts need to be double-checked or explained, this doesn’t mean that he or she thinks you are wrong. It may be that they misunderstand what you are writing because you didn’t make your point clear. Or you could have simply made a mistake, something that happens to the best of us. Double-check your facts and if what you have written is correct make sure it is written in a way that is easily understood. If you still believe that the copy editor has made a mistake, notify him or her of the issue and work to rectify the situation.

A writer and a copy editor are two elements of the marketing team. They each have certain jobs to do and when they work together they can create quality content for the company. A writer doesn’t always have to be at odds with his editor. Understand what their job is and how it is in line with yours, swallow your pride, and use their notes as a way to improve the quality of your work.

Anyone can take an intense self-paced copy editing course at Media Bistro. This is a great place to master your skills in your career as an editor.

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