Why I'll Never Edit for My Stupid Friends Again

Over the past couple of years, my friends would email me their papers for school and ask me to edit them. Initially, for my friends whom I knew were terrible writers, I would just make the corrections for them and send them back the final version. At some point, I guess when I stopped taking classes myself, I realized that they were getting As on C papers which I would essentially revise/ rewrite for them. They were getting As on papers which would lead to them gettign better grades, and in the long run college degrees, while I am sitting here in my office [even though I have a very good job] but without that validting piece of paper that would tell corporate America that they are "more qualified than I."

It struck me that as long as I don't have a degree, if one of my friends [for whom I have edited papers] and I came up against the same job it's quite possible that s/he would get the job simple because of that piece of paper that I inadvertantly helped him/her attain.

My delimna over the past couple of months have been whether or not it would be cruel for me, due to those reasons, to stop editing my friends' papers. A part of me really wanted to just say no, but the friend part of me could not stand to sit back and watch my friends turn in papers filled with simple sentences, and phrases what start with "It is, it was, there is, there were, etc."

Well what follows here is a conversation between one of my friends and myself [although I don't think she thinks we are still friends] regarding her personal statement for law school. Oh I wish I still had the version that she sent to me-- this conversation was referencing version three because the first two were just terrible!
Please notice that I edited her paper even though I was busy as sin at work [At my office from 8:00 a.m. until 10:28 p.m. that night working on my stuff]. Read it, and tell me if you think that I was wrong. Heads up! You'll have to pardon the typos.

Kreedle I (9:02:20 AM): did you get my corrections?
Ungratefulbitty (9:02:28 AM): im reading it now
Kreedle I (9:07:28 AM): i didnt leave work until 10:28 last night
Ungratefulbitty (9:08:53 AM): why?
Kreedle I (9:09:17 AM): because i do the work of 2-3 damn people by myself
Kreedle I (9:09:20 AM): and i had mad shit to do
Kreedle I (9:09:28 AM): and i was tired of looking at that shit on my desk
Ungratefulbitty (9:09:54 AM): did u finish everything
Kreedle I (9:10:13 AM): almost
Kreedle I (9:10:25 AM): im about 1/3 or 1/4 of the way done
Ungratefulbitty (9:11:10 AM): oh okay
Ungratefulbitty (9:11:16 AM): thats a plus
Kreedle I (9:11:22 AM): i guess
Kreedle I (9:11:25 AM): im pretty pissed off
Ungratefulbitty (9:11:27 AM): can i ask u a question
Kreedle I (9:11:30 AM): yes
Ungratefulbitty (9:11:46 AM): how come when i ask u to edit stuff its never complete
Ungratefulbitty (9:11:55 AM): like if u gave me a paper
Ungratefulbitty (9:11:58 AM): and asked me to edit it
Ungratefulbitty (9:12:21 AM): i would edit so that when i gave it back to u complete
Ungratefulbitty (9:12:30 AM): or atleast complete the way i would think it is
Ungratefulbitty (9:12:39 AM): but when u edit stuff
Ungratefulbitty (9:12:45 AM): there is more comments than editing
Kreedle I (9:12:54 AM): because i think that when people do that it inhibits them from knowing what they need to fix so they dont me same type of mistakes the next time
Ungratefulbitty (9:13:32 AM): but if i have the original. and i look at ur edited version. i can tell what u edited
Kreedle I (9:13:42 AM): with track changes... i do edit a lot but track changes shows you want i change in hopes that you will understand why i changed
Kreedle I (9:13:53 AM): oh i think stuff gets missed if you are just referencing the original
Kreedle I (9:14:20 AM): a comma to a semicolon -- that gets missed-- and it is very important to understand why and when a comma is changed to a semicolon
Ungratefulbitty (9:17:04 AM): i disagree
Kreedle I (9:17:16 AM): ok
Ungratefulbitty (9:17:24 AM): i know how to use a comma and a semicolon
Ungratefulbitty (9:17:49 AM): the reason why you ask someone to edit something is to fix any mistakes that you overlooked
Ungratefulbitty (9:17:59 AM): or to make something look better than before
Ungratefulbitty (9:18:11 AM): and i asked u to edit my paper
Kreedle I (9:18:15 AM): oh
Ungratefulbitty (9:18:22 AM): cuz i think that you have good writing skills
Kreedle I (9:18:46 AM): thanks
Ungratefulbitty (9:18:48 AM): and would be able to help me have a stronger personal statement
Ungratefulbitty (9:19:13 AM): but when u had it back to me with all these comments i still have to edit it again
Kreedle I (9:19:43 AM): then i guess you could say I proofread and comment... but i dont edit to final version material -- because it is the writers job to produce the final version
Ungratefulbitty (9:20:25 AM): whatever krystal. thanks for proofreading it. i guess ill ask someone else to edit it for me
Kreedle I (9:21:40 AM): o k
Kreedle I (9:22:45 AM): dont get your collegue to do it -- she's not that great a writer
Ungratefulbitty (9:23:05 AM): ur funny
Ungratefulbitty (9:23:37 AM): i ask you to do it cuz i thought u were a good writer. at least she edits it for me.
Kreedle I (9:23:55 AM): she can edit it but she's still not a good writer
Ungratefulbitty (9:24:02 AM): whatever
Ungratefulbitty (9:24:05 AM): dont worry about me
Ungratefulbitty (9:24:07 AM): ill get it done
Kreedle I (9:24:34 AM): dude when writers get their books EDITED their editors don't redo it for them... they comment... they proof... they do not fix it to final version material
Ungratefulbitty (9:24:47 AM): dont worry about it
Ungratefulbitty (9:24:52 AM): its cool
Ungratefulbitty (9:24:56 AM): i will ask someone else
Kreedle I (9:25:20 AM): okay im not going to argue with you about this .... you're the only person .. whoes papers i have ever edited who has had a problem with it... eveyone else just says okay.. fixes the issues and gets an A on their paper
Ungratefulbitty (9:25:30 AM): and furthermore i am not a writer or trying to be a writer.
Ungratefulbitty (9:25:40 AM): i asked u to help me with my personal statement
Auto Response from Kreedle I (9:25:40 AM): Artemis... great name for a horse... yes I know!


Ungratefulbitty (9:26:12 AM): and obviously you couldn't
Ungratefulbitty (9:26:16 AM): don't worry about it
Kreedle I (9:26:47 AM): Well then you're up for a feat in law school because it's all writing and reading ... that's all law school is...and you've got to know how to use the english language to get what you want... that's why the big companies always win because they can pay for lawyers who kno how to write [whether they hav epassion or not]
Kreedle I (9:26:53 AM): im not worrying about it
Ungratefulbitty (9:27:07 AM): whatever krystal
Ungratefulbitty (9:27:12 AM): ill do it
Ungratefulbitty (9:27:32 AM): and u dont need to know how to write to be a lawyer
Ungratefulbitty (9:27:42 AM): i work at one of the top lawyers in the country
Ungratefulbitty (9:27:50 AM): i mean law firms
Ungratefulbitty (9:27:55 AM): but it dont matter
Ungratefulbitty (9:28:04 AM): u did what u did, and i'll do what i gotta do
Kreedle I (9:28:32 AM): dude half of the people in law school were ENGLISH majors
Kreedle I (9:28:38 AM): they know how to write
Kreedle I (9:28:41 AM): the good ones do
Kreedle I (9:28:56 AM): okay maybe 1/3 were english majors
Ungratefulbitty (9:29:05 AM): okay. i am not gonna argue with you. if thats what u think
Ungratefulbitty (9:29:14 AM): i work with lawyers and they can't write worth a damn
Ungratefulbitty (9:29:19 AM): but thats not the point
Ungratefulbitty (9:29:28 AM): i dont need u to teach me how to write a paper
Ungratefulbitty (9:29:31 AM): i asked u to edit it
Kreedle I (9:29:42 AM): eveidently you do since you still write with all simple sentences
Ungratefulbitty (9:29:50 AM): u act like u know so much
Ungratefulbitty (9:30:03 AM): how about we forget about the paper
Ungratefulbitty (9:30:12 AM): i will NEVER ask u for anything again
Ungratefulbitty (9:30:24 AM): writing is not my best area so I asked you for help
Kreedle I (9:30:30 AM): and i helped
Kreedle I (9:30:36 AM): you dont get better if someone does it for you
Ungratefulbitty (9:30:38 AM): excuse me if I am not such a WONDERFUL writer like yourself
Kreedle I (9:30:48 AM): you get better by soeomone showing you a better way so you can implement it next time
Ungratefulbitty (9:30:49 AM): whatever Krystal
Ungratefulbitty (9:30:52 AM): that was a low blow
Ungratefulbitty (9:30:55 AM): so how about
Kreedle I (9:31:04 AM): me not finishing school yet
Kreedle I (9:31:08 AM): what is that where you're going
Kreedle I (9:31:11 AM): that was not a low blow
Kreedle I (9:31:14 AM): that was honest
Ungratefulbitty (9:31:21 AM): u say nothing to me from now on. And I will keep it moving with my "simple sentences".
Kreedle I (9:31:38 AM): well ya had a lot of them in there
Kreedle I (9:31:53 AM): sometimes the truth ain't pretty
Kreedle I (9:31:59 AM): but it doesnt stop it from being the truth
Ungratefulbitty (9:32:05 AM): lol there is a lot i could say to you too
Ungratefulbitty (9:32:08 AM): but i wont
Ungratefulbitty (9:32:12 AM): thats not the point
Ungratefulbitty (9:32:50 AM): can u stop writing me. I want nothing to do with you anymore. I came to you as a friend to ask you for help. But you and your "better than everyone" attitude took it to the limit.
Kreedle I (9:33:37 AM): you're right and everything that you "could say to me" i could say to myself too... i know about self-introspection... i know my flaws, and my mistakes so nothing you could really say could really do all that much to me-- its nothing that i have not realized myself


KM said...

No, Krystal, I think you were right. Your friend may not have realized that "simple sentence" is a standard grammatical term meaning "clause with one subject and one verb" -- and that it *doesn't* mean "stupid statement." Already sensitive about her application essay (those things are really ridiculous to write), I think she misunderstood you entirely.
You're also correct when you say that good editors don't normally rewrite. And you and your friend are both right: There are a whole range of functions that an editor can perform -- from copyediting or proofreading up to substantive reading. In either case, unless the writer is submitting for publication, he/she always has final responsibility for making sure that the piece says what it's supposed to, and that all corrections are made. It's the writer's work & his/her headache.
Working for friends and family can be a bunch of trouble, but it can work if both of you are absolutely clear beforehand on what you will and will not be doing. Though you're probably not being paid to do your people editorial favors, an informal contract isn't out of order. I'm totally serious. Sorry your girl gave you a rough time. Let her go cool out.
Take care.

Candydiva04 said...

As an outsider, since i clearly don't know either of you, i have to say "ungratefulbitty" was really wrong.
She knows you have a lot fo stuff to do because u had just finished telling her like 30 seconds b4 that you had alot of stuff to do for your job that you didn't finish to help her with her paper, and she gets mad because you refuse to do the paper for her. There is not a single friend of mine who I asked to edit a paper for me would take it make all the corrections and return it to me in a format that i could just submit.

Its like going to a tutoring session and getting mad at the tutor for trying to help you do your homework instead of just doing it for you... She needs to grow up!!

Anonymous said...

I personally agree with your friend!

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree with your friend! Krys sometimes you can just be EVIL!!!!!