I hate housework. Who doesn't right? Okay, there are some people who really enjoy it. I'm not quite sure what's wrong with those people, but they exist. More than a few of them, even. And it's probably not so much that they enjoy the housework, but the desire to have everything completely neat and spotless overrides any displeasure they have in the work. I'm thinking Monk, here (I wonder if Tony Shalhoub is as good as Monk at cleaning?).
Of course, there are parts that I hate more than more other parts and, actually, some parts I don't mind so much. Cooking, for instance, is a part I don't mind so much and even enjoy it. Except for the parts filled with the negative reviews from my kids. I hate unloading the dishwasher, but I don't mind loading it. I don't mind doing the laundry, but I hate folding it. I don't make beds. Vacuuming is okay. But I hate, absolutely hate, cleaning bathrooms.
Maybe, I'm just too close to it? Actually, when cleaning the bathroom, I'd have to say that I am definitely too close to it.
So... the lie... And this one is a bit tricky, because it's a lie, but part of it's true. The lie goes like this:
You can't edit your own work, because you are too close to it.
On the whole, the part about being too close to your own work is bullshit. Seriously, it is (with one exception, which we'll get to in a moment). Let's take a short time travel (and for a great time travel opportunity, click this link!) back to high school. If your high school was anything like mine, you were required to write papers. When writing those papers, you were also expected to be able to edit those papers. That expectation continued on into whatever higher education you went on to. The expectation that you would learn enough grammar and enough about writing structure that you would be able to self-edit.
Granted, some people don't learn that stuff as well as other people, but, really, everyone is expected to leave high school with some basic level of competence and, if you are trying to be a writer (a paid one), you should make it your job to have a level of competence well above that of the average person. In fact, the most common advice given by authors in the early to mid-20th century to people who wanted to be authors was all about grammar. Basically, they were all saying, "If you want to be a writer, learn how to write."
I think, to a large extent, possibly due to the Rise of the Editor, we've decided that's not so important. H. P. Lovecraft believed in self-editing so much so that he would tell his publishers, "If you change even one comma, you may not publish my work." Basically, take it the way I've written it or you can't have it. But, see, he knew his grammar and punctuation and didn't need someone else to come in and make his writing make sense. I think we need more of that.
Which brings me back to housework. That's what editing is like to me, something I'd rather not do but can't afford to pay someone else to do, so I do it myself. Of course, housework is often dependent upon whether someone else is going to see it...
When I was a kid, the way my mom got us (mostly me) to do housework was to have people over. Suddenly, it became this HUGE DEAL and my mom would say things like, "Do you want <so-and-so> to see this pigsty we live in?" Of course, I actually didn't care, because I never thought it was that bad. Obviously, my mother's standards were much higher than mine. Fortunately, I learned to draw the line at my room. She'd be all "Clean your room!" and I'd be all "But no one's going to be in my room" and she'd be like "But what if someone sees it?" and I'd be "I'll keep the door closed." Humorously, at first, my mom would give people tours of the house and open the door to show them exactly how messy my room was then blame me for how messy it was and how embarrassed she was that our guests saw it, but I was savvy enough to respond with, "Don't show them my room next time." Eventually, she learned.
The point, though, is that how well-edited your writing is doesn't matter at all when it's just for you, but, when you plan on inviting other people into it, you need to decide what level of cleanliness you want it at. At that point, either learn how to clean it up yourself or figure out how to pay someone to do it for you. Obviously, I'm more on the side of, "If you are a writer, you should learn how to write." It's just part of the job. Also, learn how to correct your own work, because it's a skill. It's a skill you can learn. It's a skill you should learn. It's part of the job.
Hiring an editor should not be something you NEED to do; it should be something you want to do because you don't want to do it. Like housework. And, even at that, it should only really be copy editing that you're hiring out (the person that cleans up the grammar, punctuation, and missing words). You should not need a story editor, because a story editor does not know your story. You know your story and you can not be too close to it. Story editors are good for one thing: muddling your vision. If you actually need a story editor, someone to help you make your story into something that other people can understand, you're just not ready to be publishing. As a writer, writing THE STORY is your job. If you can't do that, you haven't learned YOUR JOB.
So, yeah, that's harsh, but it is what it is. The job of the author is to write stories: It's the job of THE AUTHOR to write the story, not to write the story by committee. You can't be too close to your own work.
Except for the one exception.
The one exception of being too close to your own work has to do with things you understand that other people may not. So, like, with technical writing, if you are doing it for a broader audience than just those in the field you're writing about, you need to get someone to read through it and say, "wait, I don't understand what this means." [Lawyers should be required to have people help them write their legalese in language that everyone can get. There could be two versions of every document: the legal one and the one that people can understand.] Sometimes, we use colloquial sayings that people outside of our area may not get and you might need someone to point out those things to you. Or you may have just written something that was clear to you but, when other people read it, they just scratch their heads and say, "I don't understand this." What you need in these cases is not an editor that will be telling you how to fix it or helping you fix it or whatever; what you need is just someone to point it out, "This part isn't clear to me." That is the one real power of beta readers.
And, now, the good news! I mean, after all the HARSH, I suppose you deserve some good news, right? Here's the thing:
Just like with inviting people over to your house, most of those people are not your mother-in-law and will not be running their index fingers over every exposed surface. They are not there looking for your mistakes. I mean, if you didn't vacuum under the couch, they're not going to see that. What I mean is, if you are moderately good at editing, just moderately good, most people won't notice your mistakes. They won't notice them, because they won't even know they are mistakes. It's not like you have to be absolutely brilliant at editing. [Most people are not me. When it comes to editing, honestly, I'm more like the mother-in-law. Also, when it comes to editing, if I wanted to hire myself to edit my work, I couldn't afford me. It's a good thing I don't charge myself anything.]
What this all comes down to in the end is this:
When you see someone posting or going on about how you should never publish anything without hiring a professional editor, that is just wrong. That's like saying you should never have people over to your house unless you can hire a professional cleaning service to come clean for you. Probably, you are not having the President over to visit. Or the Queen. Most people are fine with "lived in." Again, it comes down to your own comfort level about how you want people to see you.
Except for one thing, because independent authors are a broader group than just yourself, it's like being in a neighborhood, so your yard counts and affects how people view the entire neighborhood. So, if your yard is so junky that people don't want to come over to my house, I might have a problem with it. Okay, that's not a "might;" I will have a problem with it, which is why the earlier harsh. If you want to be published, especially self-published, learn how to do your job. Learn how to do the writing part of writing, not just the coming-up-with-stories part of writing. Seriously, it's your job.