(Disclaimer: First of all, I don’t have a huge amount of editing experience and I’m certainly not up to a professional standard. Hell, when I was typing this article, I originally spelt “disclaimer” as “diclamer”. Yes, this probably isn’t the best way to start an advice article for editors but I thought that I should make you aware of this fact. Anyway, what can I tell you about editing that you don’t already know?)
Disclaimers and diclamers aside, I recently thought of an idea which might be useful to any of you who are professional editors.
This idea came about when I was watching a few TED videos on Youtube about finding your own unique purpose and vocation in life (so, if this article reads like a transcript of a speech, it’s probably because I’ve picked up something of a creative accent from the TED videos).
After watching a couple of these videos, I started wondering what my ideal vocation in life would be….
And, although I’m much more of an artist and a non-fiction writer than a fiction writer these days, one of my many ideas for my vocation in life was a “consulting writer”.
If you’ve ever read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” stories or watched the BBC’s excellent “Sherlock” TV series, then you’ll probably understand where this idea came from.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous fictional detectives of all time. But he doesn’t work for the police and, whilst he acts as a ‘private detective’ in quite a few stories, he’s actually a consulting detective. What this means is that he sometimes helps other detectives (such as Inspector Lestrade) to solve cases that they can’t solve.
In other words, he’s such a good detective that other detectives come to him for help.
Anyway, all of this led me to have an extremely egotistical daydream about being a “consulting writer”. A writer so good that other writers come to me to make their stories better. But, after spending about ten minutes daydreaming about being the Sherlock Holmes of the writing world, I realised something….
People like this already exist. Lots of them do.
It’s just that they’re given the rather boring title of “editors” rather than the more interesting, intellectual and Holmesian title of “consulting writers”.
So, if you’re an editor who isn’t really that satisfied with your job or doesn’t think of it as being important, then try calling yourself a “consulting writer” instead. Because, let’s face it, being a writer who is so good that other writers come to them for help sounds a lot more interesting and inspiring than being someone who merely “edits” things.
But, if “consulting writer” sounds a bit too pretentious to put on your business cards or your website, then it might be an idea to keep your title of “editor” but to still think of yourself as a “consulting writer”.
This whole thing may be nothing more than a matter of semantics (but, then again, so is editing) – but if it made a non-editor like myself think of editing as being something “cool” and “interesting”, then just think of what it could do for you if you’re actually an editor.
Sorry that this article was so short, but I hope that it was inspirational 🙂