I was raised to be an editor, but I always wanted to be a writer. My father is a lawyer, and his red pen and proofreaders’ marks were a constant, sometimes painful, reminder that the first draft of whatever story I was writing was never final. I’d sit with him and defend my choices, then concede that his changes might improve my writing (Even today, he insists that his changes were always for the better.) So I knew what an editor was before I knew anything about publishing, and I learned to respect their work and how important it is for the writing process.
Words have prospered in this most recent burst of new technology companies. Publishing and distribution have already been completely rebuilt, and writers have far better tools today than the electric typewriter, but good writing—beyond the typing—is collaborative, and the editorial process hasn’t scaled with this flood of new writing.
There is simply no good analogue today for my dad’s red pen and our ensuing discussions, no beautiful common space for writing and editing, no sensible way of watching a document evolve and nurturing it to maturity. So today, we’re announcing Editorially—a tool that gives writers and editors the collaborative space to simply write better.
I consider myself seriously lucky to be working on a problem that has nagged at me since I was a kid and reinvigorated my love of writing. More than that, I have hit the holy grail of teams. With me in the quiet trenches since the middle of last year are four amazing folks: Mandy Brown and Jason Santa Maria of A Book Apart, both of whom I’ve watched respectfully for a very long time; Ethan Marcotte, who gave life to Responsive Web Design and taught me to take GIFs seriously; and Rob Brackett, who knows all about meaningful work from his time at Code For America. These are people who care deeply about words and writing, and this thing we’re building together, I promise you, is amazing.