I’m a professional editor who knows many things about grammar that keep me up at night. I’ve read a whole lotta pages of the Chicago Manual of Style and the AP Stylebook, and I experience an actual release of endorphins when I see a well-placed en dash.
I also believe life is best lived when you’re not afraid to make a mess. I used to be a Classic Perfectionist—shoutout to the proofreader in me. I felt like I had to do everything right: school, work, home decor, you get it. I was terrified of messing up. Then somewhere along the line, I got into acting, found some pretty great mentors, and learned what it meant to “make a mess.” I found the freedom to look funny, speak spontaneously, and fail spectacularly. I’m still working on it, but it’s a lifelong practice.
As an editor, I’m absolutely out to make your writing clean, clear, and consistent. I also celebrate creative risk-taking and encourage my clients to unlearn whatever they think it means to “do it right.” Mistakes are how we grow. And I love watching things grow.
(If you’ve made it this far, congrats, you’re killing it.) When you externalize your ideas, you’re taking your unique experience of the world and sharing it with a community of people. That s#%*t is Vulnerable. Your editor should honor that process and treat your work as an extension of you.
Whoever said your story has to look a certain way or follow a certain structure is missing the point. Somewhere along the line, Creativity, a skill that’s supposed to be Expressive, Malleable, and wEiRd, got pigeon-holed into three-act structures and Industry Standards. If you want to follow a three-act structure, that’s great! But to the artists out there who have a different idea of how they want to shape their thoughts, you’re also right. I’m not really here to tell you what you’re Supposed to do with your work, but to support your creative choices while cleaning up actual errors and content that may unintentionally confuse your reader.
My job is to understand how You need to tell your story and work with you to get that story to a place where you love it so much, you just can’t stop sharing it.