Editors often grumble about how much rewriting they need to do on deadline because writers hand them final drafts that are not what they expect. The problem often is a lack of communication

Supervisors frequently give assignments to writers and then never discuss the document again until a final draft is handed in. Instead, there are three occasions during the writing process when an editor should consider talking to a writer, and additional discussion and guidance can be helpful too, if necessary.

The first time is when the assignment is given. Ask the writer if he or she understands the assignment and is clear about what is expected. The second time is after the writer has done the necessary research but before he or she has started drafting. If there is any misperception in the writer’s mind, this second “check-in” provides an opportunity for the editor to ensure that the writer is on the correct path. It is not fair to the writer to let him or her continue in the wrong direction.

The third occasion to talk to the writer is when he or she submits the draft. The supervisor should edit the draft while the writer is in the office, so they can talk about changes that might be necessary, and the writer can make those changes. This is much more effective than radically revising the draft without explaining the changes to the writer, and that happens far too often.