Last week, I received back the first round of edits for my second book from my editor, full of things for me to clean up in my manuscript.
These two things may not obviously go together, but when we were tidying the house, the similarities struck me. Here are a few ways that an editor is like a cleaner.
- It is possible to clean my own house and edit my own manuscript. Neither are tasks I particularly enjoy, so it's nice to get someone else to do it.
- Editors and cleaners don't have the same investment in your manuscript/house. They are dispassionate with their work to get things done.
- Editors and cleaners are both experts. Often what will take me ages will take them next to no time (at least it seems that way). They are also able to see things that need doing that I may miss.
- When they are done, you can see the effect editors and cleaners have. It's wonderful coming home after the cleaner has been to a lovely clean house. I also love it when I've been through and made the edits suggested by my editor as I can see the effect on my book.
- We tidy up first! Before I send any manuscript to my editor, it's not the first draft. I will go through and tidy it up once or twice before I send it to her so that she is not spending time fixing up silly mistakes, instead she can focus on making sure the story flows. We do the same for the cleaner. We tidy the house so they can get to the floor to clean.
A good editor, like a good cleaner, is worth their weight in gold.
Melissa Gijsbers lives in Melbourne and writes in between working as a bookkeeper and being the mother of two active boys. She is a blogger and author of flash fiction and children's books. Her first book, Swallow Me, NOW! is now available.