How To Become A Freelance Editor: Skills You Should Master

You don’t need to have an editing degree to become a freelance editor. However, you may want to like reading and have a keen eye for detail. These are both great qualities of editors. In order to set yourself up nicely for a lifetime of reading and editing, you should prepare yourself by mastering a few skills. There are a few quick and easy ways to ensure that you are a successful freelance editor.

  1. Take a short business editing class. This is not a requirement but it wouldn’t hurt. An editing class could help you freshen up on your grammar and help you spot typos and other errors like using the incorrect word in certain circumstances.

  2. Be able to spot grammatical errors. Being able to spot errors in grammar is key to being an editor. Most people struggle with all of the grammar rules and your main focus is to catch these mistakes and fix them. This is just something that you have to practice a lot. The more you read the better you will get.

  3. Spelling is also important. Most spelling errors can be caught with the spell check that comes with most word processing programs but they don’t catch every spelling error. The spell check will never catch correctly spelled words in the wrong context. Editing these types of errors is crucial.

  4. Use of sentence variety is another way to edit an individual’s paper. If you find that they are using the same sentence structure throughout the entire paper, you can let them know to switch it up which will help the paper flow better.

  5. Determining that each sentence proves the thesis and stays on topic is another skill to master. As you are reading you should have the thesis in mind and be able to see that every sentence is designed to prove that thesis. If there are some sentences that are thrown in there that don’t support the thesis, they should really be removed. The “fluff” is no good.

After a little practice and a lot of reading, you should be able to find lots of common errors that writers make. You can take your editing to the next level by creating your own business editing other individual’s work. Even the best writers need someone to edit their work. A second look by someone else is a great way to ensure that your paper comes out the way you want it to.

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