As a writer, I've come to realize the importance of a good editor.

Every journal or publication has one. He or she is the person who guards the mandate for the publication. The person who decides which articles will see the light of day and which do not fit into the parameters of what's acceptable, and who suggests/insists on the changes to be made in the content and wording.

I've also come to see that there are varying calibers and styles in editors.

There are those editors who edit too loosely. They give free reign to their authors, leaving mistakes, abstruse sentences or plain old weak writing unchecked. Lacking vision, they neglect to establish a concrete focus for their publication. Creativity thrives, but chaos abounds.

Then there are those editors who edit too stringently. They consistently delete whole paragraphs, replace your ideas and expressions with their own, until the original piece becomes hardly recognizable. The finished product might read perfectly, but it has practically become the editor's creation, instead of yours.

What differentiates the really top-notch editor (like the one here at!) from the mediocre is the rare knack of setting strong guidelines while at the same time allowing the unique talent and flavor of each author to shine through.

The ideal editor may be a great writer himself. He may, theoretically, have been able to express the same ideas and feelings presented in the article you've submitted "better" than you have. But he understands his writers' need to author their independent creations. And he also understands that, in the end result, allowing his writers to express themselves in their own different and varied ways will result in a better article and a better publication.

So though he will polish, weed out and improve, discarding, replacing and adding words, ideas or sentences in accordance with his established criteria and grand plan, he'll make sure to maintain the unique style of the author throughout. He'll choose the author's words and expressions over his own — even while correcting or enhancing.

He'll work together with the author to develop a piece that is on track, watching that it doesn't lose focus and become sidetracked from its goal — even while allowing the author's exploration along the way.

In life, we are presented with many choices. In these choices we become authors of our destiny.

Every path that we tread, every turn we take composes a fresh new sentence, paragraph or chapter in our lives. These combine to develop into our unique life stories, worded with our contributions and innovations, styled by our special personality and talents, and marked with our mistakes and slip ups.

And throughout it all, our ultimate Editor is overseeing our project, watching carefully that we don't get sidetracked from our true mandate and goal, helping us to realize which choices might work better — while still permitting us free choice. Despite His munificent guidelines and guidance to get us to our end-goal, He still enables us to find our own voice and to author our unique creation.

Because He knows that that's the way to get from us the very best story we can deliver.