Writer or editor? Both, actually.

I stumbled across this article entitled The Cure for Content-Delay Syndrome on A List Apart while waiting for a conference call to start this morning. It couldn’t have come at a better time. The call was about a web project, and I couldn’t help thinking how spot on the writer was.

Over the years I’ve become more and more uncomfortable with the “copywriter” name tag. It’s an awkward tag to wear because it’s too small and doesn’t fit very well. Take this morning’s call as a case in point. I will eventually end up writing the copy and content for the website in question. But everything we talked about this morning had to do with editorial decisions, not writing.

I felt very much like an editor planning the next edition of a publication. Organizing the front page. Sorting my way through the existing content, deciding what’s worth keeping and what isn’t — and what needs translating. Identifying what needs rewriting, what can be used as is. Providing input on the style and choice of photos to be used. Gently trying to persuade the client as to what is worthy of a place on the home page and what isn’t. Trying to prevent stakeholder politics from getting the way of effective communications. All the things that editors find themselves confronted with on a daily basis, or so I imagine.

In the article, Pepi Ronalds writes: “…we tend to first think ‘copywriter’ when trying to get our content sorted, whereas very often an editor is the person we should be engaging.”

That’s when it struck me. I often feel like an editor because I am an editor — in addition to being a writer. So now I’ve gotten myself a bigger name tag — writer/editor — and it fits me very well.


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