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Should I tell people I use an editor?

Some academics seem to think of editors as a kind of secret trick or worse, a form of cheating.* Why the sense of secrecy?

In today's highly competitive business and academic environments, not everyone wants to admit they need help. And you certainly don't want to give the impression that you don't produce your own work.

But remember that virtually every great writer—from acclaimed novelists to award-winning poets to distinguished professors—relies on significant assistance in the form of an editor (or many editors) during their career. A good editor will seek to polish your writing without losing any part of your voice, your ideas, your work; after all, your thesis is the main selling point. Rather, editors seek to omit the things that distract or detract from your message—typos, cluttered wording, inconsistent formatting or language, and other things that only get in the way of what you're trying to say.

Do you find it embarrassing to pass your taxes on to your accountant? Or drop your car off at the mechanic? Or hire a contract cleaning service? Of course not! You're paying a professional to do what they do best—a task that you prefer to delegate in order to free up time in your busy schedule. Using an editor is, in my opinion, no different from any of these other useful services.

So should you tell people you use an editor? From a purely self-serving perspective, I'd say yes (remember, that's Catie Phares, with a C!). But all jokes aside, it's completely at your discretion. I never divulge client names or information, so if you do like to think of our work together as your secret life hack—the "secret" is safe with me.


(*Let me clarify that I do not produce written work for my academic clients and never would. There is a massive difference between editing services and academic writing services; the latter get customers nothing more than, at best, a passing grade that's rendered meaningless without any actual development or knowledge attached to it, and a degree that's now worth less than it was before they undermined its value by purchasing it instead of earning it. In case you can't tell, I agree with the thousands of academics who want these essay mills outlawed asap.)

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