When you write a piece, do you ask someone to edit it for you or not? For me it depends on what I'm doing. These blog posts are written in a few minutes and posted as-is. It's a blog, so I'm not very particular about grammar, style, etc. (Yes, feel free to make rude comments!)
However, when I write for a publication, my work is always subbed/edited. Some writers really object to having their work edited; I think it's an excellent thing.
OK, if you're unlucky enough to get a bozo going over your work, then they can ruin you.
I remember years ago someone at the NST "improving" my work by adding in split infinitives, subject-verb errors, and other grammar horrors. When the piece was published it sounded like something you'd hear at the wet market. I suggested to the editor back then that she take a look at the "improvements" before letting them through. As it turned out, she'd already seen the piece, checked whose errors they were, and removed that sub.
For the most, however, I find that editors improve my work. When I write something, I tend to become blind to errors and glitches. Editors can cast a fresh eye on work and then pick up errors or smooth out style problems.
Eric Forbes of MPH picked out over a dozen grammar errors in the Logomania manuscript; Howe Leng of Marshall Cavendish did the same with Katz Tales.
Magazine eds like Margaret Sebastian and Tara Barker can swap around a few paras, add in some sub headings and turn an OK article into a winning feature.
If you ask me, I'd say editors are a writer's second-best friend. Cats are of course the writer's best friend - but you knew that, right?
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