I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve had to edit rough drafts of everything from essays to short stories. What’s worse, I cannot believe how many times I have received a document via email or seen a draft on my desk that’s in serious need of work…to put it nicely. For the record, these are some of the few things that frustrate me as an editor. Is it so hard to follow a few simple rules?
If the papers are dirty, messy, stained, crumpled, etc.
This shows you don’t care and hello, it’s quite disrespectful. I’ll care enough to edit if you care enough to clean up your act and your papers while you’re at it.
If the handwriting is impossible to read.
The easier it is for me to read what you’ve written, the more accurate and valid my feedback will be. Also, unless you really want to test my patience (which you don’t), print neatly instead of making the handwriting too fancy or messy to make for an easy read-through. I’m more likely to spend additional time and effort on something I understand over something that looks rushed. Take extra time to write legibly and I promise I’ll take extra care to edit your work.
If your entire essay is squished together using tiny font, small margins, and narrow spacing.
I prefer bigger font, better use of the page, and double-spacing, especially when I am editing. Feel free to change everything back to your preferences after the editing stage or for the final draft. However, as an editor, I need room to write in corrections, add in suggestions, and fill in feedback. Don’t make me struggle to find space. Don’t make me cram my ideas on your page. At best, you’ll have to squint to read what I wrote. At worst, I’ll forgo extra feedback-giving if I don’t have enough room to do so.
While I’m no expert on editing, I’ve done it more times than necessary to know editors are great as long as writers cooperate. That’s easy enough to remember right? Say it with me. Editors are great as long as writers cooperate. The more you cooperate, the better your editor will be. Additionally, it doesn’t hurt to ask your editor how he or she prefers to edit either. Asking cannot hurt you; it will only help you.