Patience, Please

Lynel Washington
Lynel Washington

The most challenging task of being a copy editor is delivering what I’ve termed, “The Patience Speech.” Oftentimes, I receive manuscripts which I deem as incomplete from anxious first-time writers who are convinced their project is beyond ready for self-publication. My sense of professionalism is often tested by potential clients who haven’t researched the inner workings of the book industry and the intricate process of editing.

“What do you mean there are stages of editing?”

“Can’t you just do what you do and not focus on the missing parts?”

Well, to the novice writer asking me to perform copy editing services while closing my eyes to the developmental issues that may be present in his/her manuscript may be simple. Not! Don’t rush the process. Patience is a necessity. The journey toward becoming a published author is filled with speed bumps and pit stops. This is your first endeavor into the writing world. Trust those who’ve paved the way, learned the valuable lessons before you—your ancestors of writing, so to speak. Don’t judge these obstacles as painful; they are a catalyst for growth. What you may think is a finished product may be a rough draft in a professional editor’s eye. The work presented to your editor may include a great concept that may require further tweaking. On another note, until you have been through the process of developmental editing setting a release date is a no-no. It takes time to write, rewrite and write again.

Though you’re feeling excited about seeing your name on the cover of your first work of art, believe that an award-worthy finished product is more fulfilling than a less-than-stellar effort.

Lynel Washington

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