The role of the editor is an intimate one because she reads your mistakes and judges your intent and suggests an alternative path to your goal. As much as we think we do, we never like alternative paths. We like what we know, words we’re married to, what we’ve spent days writing toward.
An editor sees your gaps, can exploit your errors rather than clarify your efforts, and help you listen to you, to your words, and to the hopes underneath them. Like a guide, she takes in your hardest-won words and makes them better.
An editor can damage you. An editor can discourage you. Or an editor can draw a simple, clear line between your work and your end. She can look ahead and see the page when you can only see the sentence. She can show you that there’s more in you without suggesting your earlier presentation as inferior.
Her words return again and again: “There’s more. There’s more in you. Go for it. Go. See. Soar.”