Editors: Compliments Are Few. It’s No Life for the Needy


I was complimented today. Why doesn’t matter. It was sort of a toss-off compliment, but heartfelt nonetheless, I believe. What struck me most was the realization that I rarely get compliments. Oh, I get them from my husband; they are frequent and joyfully received. But in life, in general, compliments aren’t generally tossed out like beads at a Fat Tuesday parade. People tend to be circumspect, stingy even, with compliments. I don’t know why. It’s not like you have to pay for them!

Especially as a freelance editor, compliments are few and far between. I accept that repeat work from my clients is the greatest form of compliment. But I realized today that if a person needs regular positive feedback, the life of a freelance editor isn’t for them.

I rarely miss a deadline, and when I do, it’s typically not my fault. (Simple fact. Project managers fall behind, and try as I might, I can’t catch up. But that’s rare…the inability to catch up, not PMs falling behind.  Despite obstacles laid in my path, I power through on weekends and late into the night to meet deadlines.)

Rarely does my extra effort result in acknowledgement, however, other than, “When will the next chapters be ready?” or something of that sort. I certainly never get a bonus at the end of the year, or regular incentives.

More often, I’m informed that rates are going down, due to yet another downturn in the economy, so freelancers (while vital to the publishing industry) will not receive the pay they currently receive. Hey, I accept that. I’ve chosen this career, and I have no illusions. Though vital, freelance editors are a “dime a dozen,” even the great ones.

But, I readily admit, it was nice to get that compliment! I read it and reread it and grin. It’s like an unexpected gift.

Remember that when you work with your editors, writers. Please. Editors are like dentists. We might cause pain, but ultimately, you are better off because of us! Be aware that compliments go a long way in the heart of an editor.


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