Writers VS. Editors: We’re All Winners Here!

Illustration by Ramiro Roman — by Lauren Tharp
Illustration by Ramiro Roman — by Lauren Tharp

I’m a freelance writer. I’m also an editor. This has put me in the unique position of being on both sides of the pitching, drafting, and publication process.

I consider myself primarily a writer for now; however, I have a passion for both fields and feel myself more and more divided as time goes on.

Both freelance writing and editing are pretty darn great. There are a lot of pros to both!

There are also a lot of cons though…

Let’s take a look at some of the basic “pros and cons” for each, shall we?

The Pros and Cons of Freelance Writing

Pro: You Get to Write.

There’s nothing quite like creating something from nothing. You go from staring at a blank page to a page filled with words that originated from your head. Look at this blog post, for example! A second ago there was nothing on it and now there are just about 200 words. How amazing is that? And to get paid to do that? Even more amazing!

Con: You Don’t Always Get to Write What You Want

As a freelance writer, you don’t always get to choose what you write — even if you choose who you write for. And even topics that you enjoy can become boring when they’re being written for someone else, or under strict creative restrictions.

Pro: You Get Paid to Write

You’re living the dream life! Seriously! You get to do something that pretty much everyone dreams about doing at some point in their lives. But you aren’t sitting around being wistful: You’re actually doing it. And you’re making a living off of it. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Con: It Can Be Difficult to Find Paying Gigs

Finding paid writing work either from a publication or from clients can be tough. Freelance writing isn’t for the weak.

Pro: Getting Published is Amazing

Try to not be a byline junkie! It’s nearly impossible. And even ghostwriting gigs have a certain sense of satisfaction to them when you finally see your hard work in print.

Con: Editors Can Be a Real Pain

Uggggggghhhhhhhh… All those rules you have to follow to even be considered! And they always take for-freakin’-ever to write back to the writers who pitch to them. And then after they do accept a draft (if you’re fortunate enough to have that happen), they end up requesting all sorts of changes and, well, edits. Whaaaaat? Jeez!

But it’s not like editors are living the easy life, are they? After all, they have their own set of pros and cons to deal with…

The Pros and Cons of Freelance Editing

Pro: You Make “Good” Better

Most editors, if not writers themselves, have a great appreciation for writing in general. They tend to be avid readers and love words. Or, at least, this is true of myself and every other editor I’ve ever met personally. That said, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of taking a piece of “good” writing and making it even better.

Make-up is used to enhance facial features. Frosting makes cake even sweeter. Editors make decent writing great writing. And that’s something to take pride in.

Con: You Have to Make the Tough Choices

On a basic level, editors have to make tough decisions when they’re editing simply by choosing which words stay and which need to go. However, if you work as an Editor for a publication, you may have to make tough choices when it comes to who gets to write those words.

Whether you’re accepting and rejecting pitches or putting staff writers on assignment, you’ll be faced with a lot of difficult decisions.

Pro: You Sometimes Get Credit

Every once in a while you’ll get credit for your hard work! Editors are similar to ghostwriters in that they tend to forgo their ego in favor of the greater good, but, every once in a while, you’ll find yourself on a masthead or credited in a finished work. For example, I was given Editor credit in The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs. And, dang, did that feel good!

Con: But It’s Never Truly About You

Even if you do get the occasional credit, editing work is never truly about you. Like I mentioned above, your main function is to enhance other people’s writing — not show yourself off. It can be tough sometimes, especially if a particular piece needed a lot of editing, to sit back in the shadows like the Phantom while the Christine of the writing world gets the spotlight…

Pro: People Respect You!

Editors have a lot of power and therefore get a lot of respect. It’s pretty freakin’ cool.

Con: …Except When They Don’t

Okay. Not everyone respects you. Some writers can be pretty darn nasty! I’ve posted screencaps from my editorial inbox before and it’s not a pretty sight. Some writers hold a lot of animosity for editors. And, okay, as a writer myself, I admit that editors can be frustrating at times, but come on. There’s no need to be a total butt about it.

So Who Has It Best?

Well, as you probably guessed from the headline of this post: We’re all winners. And we’re all losers.

Neither writers nor editors have it any better than the other.

I enjoy both of my careers.

Which one you end up choosing — or if you choose both like I did — is up to you! But at least now you know the pros and cons of each.

This article was originally published on writing