Spreading good words around...
Spreading good words around...

What I learnt about editing from Michael O'Donnell, editor of World Medicine


1. To make a publication look effortless takes effort.

2. Hire people you like having lunch with.

3. Be courageous – and courteous.

4. Give your writers space to make mistakes.

5. Complaints are an opportunity.

6. Encourage your readers to write – and spend time helping them to do so.

7. Audience surveys do not measure the soul of a publication.

8. Spend as much of your publisher’s money as you can on improving their product.

9. A well-turned phrase beats an angry rant.

10. Enjoy yourselves. If you don’t your readers won’t.

And a bonus one from Geoff Watts, a fellow World Medicine alumnus: You can be serious without being solemn.


Written as a tribute to my former editor and mentor, and reprinted with permission from The Writer, the Society of Medical Writers, Volume 18 No 1, August 2019.

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