Editing Advice for Freelancers


Sometimes, editing another person’s work may prove challenging.

Taking on the role of becoming an editor and potentially changing someone’s work could be tough but rewarding. Here is some advice for those freelancers wanting to edit.


i. Be sure to check all the grammar and punctuation

When it comes to editing, this is more than likely your main job as a freelancer. Ensure that all punctuation put in by the original author is necessary and in the correct context. Make correcting any grammatical and punctuation errors your first concern.


ii. Only do what you can do, or what you've been hired for

If the original author has only hired you to be a copy editor, be sure to only complete the job they expect you to complete. However, if the original author is okay with you altering any wording that is incorrect, do so. Remove anything that is unnecessary and ensure that all the writing makes sense.

This being said, do not over edit due to overconfidence. If the original author hired you to be a copy editor, that’s the task you are expected to complete. If you over edit their manuscript by changing or deleting sentences, changing perceptions on characters, even changing scenes; the original author will more than likely be unhappy with your work.


iii. Manage your time

Be sure to manage your time well, especially as a freelancer, as you can potentially be working on multiple projects at once and some may have an earlier deadline or take up more time than the others. Try to lessen the use of longer, descriptive sentences unless they are completely necessary. Over using adverbs can weaken your descriptions so try to remove as many of these as possible.


If you are chosen to edit someone’s work, it could potentially be because they are attempting to avoid editorial control. This means you, as an editor, need to ensure that the author’s work still remains in their control and you are simply checking their work. This rule remains until the original author says different.

Be sure to edit to the best of your ability to allow the author’s work to look professional.

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