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When I think about what reading and writing mean to me, I always think of the word trust.

Whether it’s fiction or nonfiction or poetry or whatever, the relationship between reader and writer is based on a foundation of trust. You hate the sentences, you find a nugget of wisdom, you pen the greatest clause you’ve ever elucidated, you craft the funniest set of puns anyone you know has ever seen–there’s nothing fucking more to it. Both sides of the relationship rely on everyone trusting each other that what they meant is exactly what’s on the page. There could be thirteen or thirty different levels of metaphor involved, but it’s all there because the author has entrusted whatever’s there to the reader.

Which is why taking edits is a difficult but welcome experience. I know full well I miss something in any essay I write, be it an error, a subconscious double entendre, and so on. Maybe my content doesn’t perfectly align with the publication, or maybe I’m still cursing inappropriately like a sailor. So something gets tweaked to improve it until there’s a cohesive piece of material that presents all the pieces you need to put the puzzle together.

Anytime I start reading a novel, that’s what it feels like: settling in as the author starts placing puzzle pieces in front of me, slowly adding enough for me to grasp the entire picture.

And that’s the challenge of editing and copyediting I’ve always enjoyed: the author and I aren’t ready to engage with our readership because we haven’t set everything in place. It’s a kind of silent, hidden craft that painstakingly ensures things like format or spelling don’t distract or confuse, only enhance.

The details matter or there is no trust. If we can’t spell correctly, use an en dash correctly, or whatever the issue may be, then why would you give a shit about anything we write about? We obviously don’t care about getting the words right, so why would you believe any of the content is right?

And sure, no one bats a thousand, but the places that care frequently publish corrections. They still want your trust. A correction is at the very least an apology acknowledging that there was a mistake and we will make sure it never happens again (or as little as possible). We’re staying vigilant because our goal is to provide content you can trust.

And if a company doesn’t trust their readers, I don’t want to work for them.

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