My mother, the person who taught me how to read, complained to me during a recent visit about the state of today’s publishing world. “Doesn’t anybody read through these books before they print them anymore?” she asked me, shortly thereafter throwing the new paperback she had been referencing in the aforementioned question into my trash can.
I’ve been writing in various capacities for most of my adult life — both professionally and creatively — and I think she believes this somehow qualifies me to answer for all publishers, writers, editors, and anyone else dealing with the written word as a profession.
But I don’t speak for this group. Why? Simply put, I am not representative of it.
It’s not just because my formal training is in creative writing, either. I know just as well as anybody else who’s ever dealt with any employee of any business that if a person is not properly motivated (whether by money, family, personal accomplishment, or some other driver), said person will simply not do a good job. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this lack of motivation in many industries, including the writing arena.
But I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. Not all writers and editors are created equal. It’s just a fact. Pay two writers or editors the same amount of money to write or edit something for you, and you will get two very different results. One will likely be better than the other by comparison, but it’s really a crap shoot as to whether either outcome will be truly satisfactory.
Now, admittedly, satisfaction is very much dependent upon your knowledge of writing, which may not be extensive (hence, why you’re hiring someone else to write or edit something for you). But shouldn’t you at the very least get some level of quality or noted improvement for whatever fee you’ve paid a writer or editor?
This doesn’t necessarily happen every time you hire someone in these capacities. Some of it stems from a lack of proper training. As a former college composition teacher, I know firsthand just how far children and young adults are being left behind with respect to even the most basic skills, such as writing. I also know many teachers who are teaching simply to have summers off for themselves; this is also part of the problem.
Regardless of the causes, however — only a couple of which I’m mentioning here — the result is the same: poorly trained teachers and students make for poorly skilled writers and editors.
Then, taking things down to the individual level, there’s the issue of personal motivation. Everybody is motivated by something, but not everyone will direct this energy toward a profession. Some people work for a paycheck; they work a job. Others work in a field because they have a passion for it; it is their career and then some.
The latter is the type of writer or editor I can speak for because that’s who I am. Reading and writing saved my life. Language provided me dreams when I had none, understanding when I lacked it, hope when I lost my own. Writing in particular has been the most challenging and fulfilling venture I’ve ever embarked upon, and considering I also took calculus, that’s saying a lot (at least in my book). I am reminded of all language has given me each and every time I wrangle with words; it is what drives me — my motivation.
Every day, I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a place and time where literature was given the proper attention it deserved; where careful eyes read, reread, and edited to finally deliver ideas clearly, eloquently, and expertly expressed through words. How would I have learned to read and write properly if writers and editors then were not doing their jobs well, were not knowledgeable about their craft?
I aspire to do as great a job with my writing and editing today as those people I read as a child and young adult did. I see what’s currently lacking in the marketplace, and I strive to bridge the gap. If you’re looking for the qualities I’ve described above to shine through in the writing that appears on your website, in your magazine — even on your résumé — I hope you’ll consider asking for my assistance, because I can help.
If you’re seeking high-quality writing and editing that combines creative craft elements with a critical eye, you’ve found the person who can offer it to you. The experience I’ve gained writing and editing in various arenas for over a decade — from marking up student essays to composing letters and reports for lawyers and private investigators, editing a literary magazine, creating copy for a health insurance company, writing for magazines, and more — has provided me with extensive versatility and flexibility as a writer.
In all of my positions, past and present, I’ve had to interact with a wide variety of people — from executives to teenagers — and I’m not afraid to chase down stories and the people behind them. I’ve conducted countless interviews and networked extensively at trade shows to be able to contribute to the planning and execution of editorial calendars and media products, pitch story ideas for myself and other writers, write and edit my own material, and build brands as well.
At the end of the day — whether in person, in print, or online — I know that developing genuine connections with people is the ultimate goal. (Why else do we attempt to communicate?) I look forward to the privilege of working with you on achieving this through the written word.