An Editor’s Serenity Prayer

This pretty much sums up my editorial philosophy. I look for editors who are similarly inclined. My little sign is posted where I can see it from my work chair. When it gets tatty or ripped, I make a new one.

serenity prayer



4 thoughts on “An Editor’s Serenity Prayer

  1. Ditto.

    I’ve learned over the years that punctuation can be key to minimizing touching prose; many times a shift in punctuation will clarify a tangled sentence without recasting. Also that the best way to establish what level of prose-touching is acceptable to an author is to provide a sample edit while negotiating the job. That shows the author what your approach will be and allows him/her to respond with yea and nay, so you both go into the project with a shared expectation.


    • Oh boy, what you said about punctuation. I learned that working for a weekly newspaper. We published virtually every letter we received, and of course most of them were not from experienced writers. I rarely had to do more than clean up spelling, move a few commas around, and maybe break up a sentence or two.

      Totally agree about the sample edit. if the writer has never worked with me before, and especially if s/he hasn’t had much experience with editors, period, the sample can be very reassuring.


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