The Wordstitch blog

Tag Archives: love of language

It’s not uncommon to hear editors alluding to what they do as a kind of midwifery. Editors (for which read ‘copyeditors’ and ‘proofreaders’ throughout) help clients to ‘birth’ books – to bring them into the world in the healthiest and best-prepared state they can, with the minimum possible fuss, mess and pain. They support clients (parents), listening carefully to their desires for their book (birth plan) and doing their utmost to make those desires a reality. And they work diligently with other editorial professionals (doctors, nurses and other specialists) to ensure the service (care) they give to the client is comprehensive, appropriate and respectful. Wikipedia even says that part of the role of a copyeditor is ‘to midwife content’.

In contrast, my cousin Bryony is a real midwife – as in, she helps small humans into the world. A while back we were talking about her work, and she said this:

When you apply to a midwifery course at university, one of the worst things you can say is that you ‘love babies’.

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