We all have one, or should. This editor weeds out the bad stuff, helps us gather in the good stuff, and pretty much keeps us on track when it comes to misspelled, awkward and run-on sentences. But do we really have a clear idea what that means?
As an editor myself I have run into various stresses - dilemmas if you will - that challenge my mind and heart, keep me groping for the wall and wondering what the writer could be thinking.
I like editing, but I prefer writing. And I like an author who does what he or she is asked to do in the beginning stages of working through a manuscript, instead of holding off until the proof is out.
Still, this difficulty may be just as much my fault as it is theirs.
Communication is a grand key that opens doors; without it, both sides (within or without the door) are always guessing, always wondering what they should really be doing. So I've learned a lot from situations like this. I've learned that I must be clear about what I want the writer to check before the book goes into the proof stage. I must be much, much clearer than mud.
And this takes practice as well as patience. So when I say, "Be nice to your editor," I'm also saying to the editors, "Be nice to your writer," because as any writer knows, it takes tremendous courage to get those words out in the first place.