In this era of Grammarly for editing and AI programs that will compose “content” for you, why would you need someone like me, a mere human, and more expensive than those free or cheap virtual resources?
A recent client gave one answer: “Jim’s approach was not like other editors I interviewed. They told me what they would do, step by step, without enthusiasm, making the work seem tedious. Jim expressed excitement about the possibility of working with me. Then, during his process, he asked questions, he made suggestions, and offered options. That was exactly what I was looking for. Altogether, it felt like a team approach—a collaboration, and I am very grateful.”
Co-Pilot on Your Creative Journey
There’s clearly a difference between my service for this client and what a virtual assistant (as well as other human editors) could offer. Even “enthusiasm,” from an app, we know is artificial. I am your ally—your “co-pilot on the creative journey” as I like to say.
But there’s something else.
My Family History Service
In another recent instance, I was hired to facilitate a family history interview. The son was going to be the primary interviewer of his mother. He knew what to ask and what to probe for. My service was to be a “color commentator” in the game as it played out in real time. Subsequently, I created a document based on voice transcription by a virtual assistant. (That’s a real plus, and I recommend it over any human short of a trained court stenographer taking the notes.)
After that, I listened to the recording while reviewing the transcription. There were inevitable errors. “Tuolumne Meadows” is not a place name that voice transcription can handle. And there were other misinterpretations as well.
In addition, there were moments when either the party—interviewer or subject—misspoke, misunderstood, or got confused or over-explained something. In my review, I did my best to streamline the interview and make all individuals (including myself) as coherent on-topic, and entertaining as possible.
Later, there will be a second interview to “back-fill” missing elements and add stories we didn’t get to the first time. These will be inserted into the first interview where they make the most sense. Some things may get deleted as well.
Helping You Understand
All this seems second nature to me. But when I spoke to my client, the son/interviewer, he expressed his belief that my task was simply to make the word document “as close to word-for-word from the recording as possible.” He was surprised to see the first rough edit and pleased to see that it read more clearly than the live process. And he agreed that the backfill would, of course, have to be included along the way, not as a clump at the end.
In the end, he understood that I was more than a second-string interviewer, more than simply a reviewer of voice transcription and creator of a representative PDF. I was sculpting a result the family would enjoy for years—maybe generations—to come.
Virtual assistants can’t apply that sort of lens to raw material. They can’t in essence create the stories a mother recalls for her son. They can’t evaluate what’s most important and in what sequence.
But I can.
The Bottom Line: Value
So, when you weigh the cost of hiring me for a project, be sure to consider the value of the result, and the work required to create that value.
That’s what Writestuff Ink provides.