The dirty little secret about hiring an editor

secret girl on blue background. Red lips trendIt happens in almost every conversation with a client. And when it does, the moment is palpable.

A CEO burrows his brow in uncomfortable silence. A new business owner laughs weakly, shifting awkwardly in her chair. An author wipes away tears, apologizing for the unexpected emotions.

These were all real moments with clients. And although each reacted differently, their reason was the same.

They felt exposed.

You see, what people don’t know about working with an editor is that it’s a pretty intimate process. And if it’s done well, you’ll almost always be found out.

What I mean is that an editor – a good editor – is trained to find your gaps, your blind spots. And she’ll poke and prod those areas to make them better for you. She knows that the only way to make your good stuff better is to dig deeper than you – to dive in to the places where you aren’t so sure about yourself.

And a client – a good client – has the humility to respond, revealing what is beneath the surface. He might admit a flaw. He may confess a doubt. He’ll likely hear feedback. And he’ll certainly feel vulnerable.

No doubt, this process takes some guts. But here’s the thing: It’s worth it.

Your corporate brand, your personal story – they’re both about who you are and what you want to share with the world. Hiring an editor means that you want to share it with authenticity and meaning – and that you’re willing to experience some discomfort to get there.

And so, with a little prodding, the CEO realizes that he hasn’t articulated his vision to himself yet, much less to his people. The new business owner admits that she isn’t confident in her process yet, even on the eve of her website launch. The budding author acknowledges that a memory is painful to write about, but agrees to go there.

And your editor? She’s smiling gently inside, thinking, “Now we’re getting somewhere. . . .”

Ella7_croppedElla Hearrean Ritchie is the owner of Stellar Communications Houston, a business communications and book publishing team that delivers quality, integrity, and reliability to nonfiction authors, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or check out the website for more information.