It’s time to give them a litte appreciation… The invisible (and often drunk and lecherous) heroes of the publishing world. Paranthetical statement added for a particular person… you know who you are.
I’ve wanted to write about editors and editing for years, but since I was one of that invisible tribe myself until a year ago, it felt unseemly. But now that I have switched full time to the other side of the desk, I can gush without stint. [That's what you think, bub -- Ed.]
To people not in the business, editing is a mysterious thing. (Actually, it’s mysterious to most bloggers, who despite having been in existence for less than 10 years, probably outnumber every writer who ever wrote. But more on them later.) Many times over the past 20 years, people have asked me, “What exactly does an editor do?”
It’s not an easy question to answer. Editors are craftsmen, ghosts, psychiatrists, bullies, sparring partners, experts, enablers, ignoramuses, translators, writers, goalies, friends, foremen, wimps, ditch diggers, mind readers, coaches, bomb throwers, muses and spittoons — sometimes all while working on the same piece. Early in my editing career I was startled when, after we had finished an edit, a crusty, hard-bitten culture writer, a woman at least twice my age, told me, “That was great — better than sex!”