By Kathy Ide

No matter how long you’ve been working as an editorial freelancer, you need to work at keeping your skills sharp and up to date. Here are some ways to accomplish that.

1. Read

Read books on how to write as well as how to edit. Here are some suggestions:


  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Bird by Bird Anne Lamott
  • Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain


  • Writing Successful Self-Help & How-to Books by Jean Marie Stine
  • How To Get Your Book Published by Robert W. Bly
  • Writing Creative Nonfiction, edited by Carolyn Forche


  • Story by Robert McKee
  • Getting into Character by Brandilyn Collins
  • Creating Fiction, edited by Julie Checkoway
  • Creating Characters by Dwight Swain
  • Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell
  • The Art & Craft of Novel Writing by Oakley Hall
  • Practical Tips for Writing Popular Fiction by Robyn Carr
  • Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman


  • Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
  • Copyediting: A Practical Guide by Karen Judd
  • The Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn
  • and just for fun, Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss (It contains British punctuation rules, which are different from US rules. But it’s hilarious fun for those of us who enjoy spotting mistakes!)

Stay tuned for Part 2 of How to Keep Your Editing Skills Sharp, coming soon!

kathyinblueKathy Ide is the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors and the editor/compiler of the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. She’s a full-time freelance editor/writing mentor. She teaches at writers’ conferences across the country and is the director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She’s an owner of the Christian Editor Network LLC, parent company to the Christian Editor Connection and The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network. To find out more about Kathy, visit