Michael Lynch posted this article where he talks about how the impact an editor had on the reception of his blog posts. This article resonated with me as I hired an editor for the first time in my life several months ago and was similarly impressed by the impact they had on the quality of my writing.
I thought, naïvely, that the main responsibility of an editor is to put some spit and polish on your work: fix gramatical errors, improve sentence flow, and the like.
But a good editor is more like a sparring partner. They probe, asking pointed questions about both the main premise and the validity of supporting evidence. They reject arguments outright, including the ones you’re particularly attached to. And when they read something that particularly rocks, they let you know.
Another bonus: since many editors are also responsible for assigning stories to reporters and screening pitches from freelancers, they can give you a heads-up when your blog post might merit a higher-profile placement. This is crucial because bylines beget more bylines, and once you publish something (even if it’s on your personal blog), it’s no longer pitchable to publications.
So if you write, even sporadically, consider hiring an editor to look over some of your work. Just like hiring a coach when you first hit the gym to make sure you’re lifting safely, even a short burst of focused feedback at the beginning of a writing journey can pay huge dividends.
Please note that I didn’t take my own advice for this post.