Every writer needs an editor, yes, yes. But the better writer you are, the better editor you need.
Take me, for instance. I've been at this a long time. I've written a lot of words, for lean organizations that didn't have a lavish editorial staff.
Though I need a proofreader and a light copyeditor from time to time (that's you, dear Writing Boots reader), the only editor who has truly humbled me in recent memory is Jeff Herrington.
Over the last happy year or so, Jeff and I have worked together to create and promote
We held this seminar in Chicago in the spring.
I wrote the marketing promotion for "How to Write EVERYTHING."
The promotion was good. I sent it to Jeff for his approval. Edits came back. First surprised at their quantity, then grateful for their quality, I accepted every single one, because they made my copy significantly better: clearer, quicker-to-the-point, more persuasive, more readable.
In Chicago, I saw Jeff deliver "How to Write EVERYTHING," to a crowd that ranged from a scary-sharp usage expert to a couple of communicators who weren't entirely solid on the difference between the active and passive voice. And a lot of variously skilled people in between.
(Kinda like your communication department, right?)
With his lovely mix of passion and humor and genial Texas grace, Jeff helped a whole room of professional writers become significantly better, together. Showed them how to get straight to the point, helped them write social media posts that get shared, op-eds that appeal to editors and news releases that make news. Taught them many dozens of techniques to brighten up every piece of communication they write.
And most remarkably, made them a group of people who had never met one another feel like a unified communication team, out to beat the boring and the bad with the readable and the rich.
It wasn't the martini afterwards that had this seasoned old seminar slinger babbling and raving to Jeff about what I had just seen, and how I thought that the quality of all of corporate communications could be transformed if only Jeff could travel to every corporate headquarters and teach people who have to write everything, how to write everything better.
Not only would each of those people become better and more versatile as individuals, but they'd share the same concepts and vocabulary as a team. The inevitable results: More confident and competent communicators. Better communication coming out of the organization. And pathetically grateful communication directors, with much less editing to do.
Before we ordered our second round, Jeff and I decided to introduce "How to Write EVERYTHING" as an in-house seminar.
Jeff comes to your HQ. Efficiently and affordably entertains and instructs as many communicators as you can gather in one room for one day. Leaves your communication department immeasurably better than he found it. (And happier, too.)
But whatever you do, don't send this blog post to Herrington. He'll have edits, and I don't have time, this morning, to make them.