About Being an Editor

I’ve been thinking about what editing means to me. How did it happens, and why it became important to me – to edit someone’s writing.

I’ve been reading ever since I can remember. It all started with mangas (Japanese comics) and my love for animes (Japanese animations). My love for reading grew bigger, especially after J.K. Rowling made Harry Potter. Years went by, and my book shelf are full with books (mostly mangas and fictions). Having read all those books, it gave me knowledge on what makes a good writing, but more importantly, how to write properly.

I can’t say that Bahasa Indonesia was my favourite subject when I was still in school. But since it’s way better than those science subject (except Biology, cause I loved it), I enjoyed the subject. To this day, it still amazes me how Bahasa Indonesia have so many rules and grammars. Don’t get me started on the vocabularies. I’m an Indonesian, been speaking the language my whole life, and I still need my Indonesian Dictionary, just to make sure that I write it properly.

I took the first editing ‘job’ two years ago, when my friend needed an editor for an academic journal in my major. At that time, I realized, as smart as my fellow International Students can be, they still make mistakes in their journals! Of course, by some people editing is a perfectionists job, because flaws are always there.

I disagree.

As a reader, I think nothing is more annoying than simple mistakes in a writing. Whether it’s in a novel, an ad, a journal, anything. Simple mistakes like typographical errors (in short, typos) ruins the entire reading experience, at least for me. I once read a book from one of my favourite Indonesian writers, and was very disappointed cause the writer (or maybe the editor) mixed up the names of the characters! I tweeted my disappointment to the writer and I told him that the next prints should not have that mistake (I read the first edition). It was disappointing cause it was the biggest publishing company in Indonesia! The editor(s) should not make a stupid mistake like that!

When I edit, at least I read the draft three times, with at least two days in between. I usually fix the typos first, so it doesn’t ruin my reading experience. After that, I read the entirety of the writing, the idea behind each paragraphs and how it relates to the next. This second phase takes longer than the first, obviously. The final phase, I proofread the draft for typos (again, in case I miss anything) and my notes about the writing.

Stressful? Of course. But I enjoy the entire process. The look on the writer when I told them about the typos, comments about the story and characters, it’s all worth it.

All said and done, will I be a real editor? We’ll just wait and see 🙂

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