Last Updated on Thursday, 05 April 2012 09:51 Posted by Clash Saturday, 28 April 2012 01:36
Job-title: Professional Freelance Copyeditor and Writing Coach, and Author
Give us your job description in 25 words or less. I edit books for the publishing industry to ensure they have correct grammar and spelling, and I coach writers to help them improve their craft.
Describe a typical workday. I get up early, run two miles on my treadmill, check e-mail, post tweets, throw the ball for the dog, then get to work (in between throwing the ball and Frisbee for the dog). I edit manuscripts for writers—all kinds of books: fiction (poetry, novels, short stories) and nonfiction. Usually work for about 6-7 hours, then cook dinner, do laundry, clean up, watch Star Trek with my husband when he comes home (or something compatible).
What led you to realize that you wanted to do this type of work? I had been a novelist for many years, but always loved English (majored in it) and actually loved grammar. After talking to a friend who was an editor, I realized I could do this for a career. It wasn’t until I got into it that I realized I really loved editing and it was the perfect job for me. I love helping writers and seeing them learn and feel proud of their work, and also seeing them get published.
Did you have any heroes or mentors in your industry that you admired? Yes, my mentor is Kathy Ide, and she also hosts organizations and websites for editors and to help writers connect with editors. She gives so much to others, and I try to copy that spirit.
What type of education or training was required to land your job? Well, you need to be a good student. You don’t have to have any degrees, but it would be wise to major in English and/or take a lot of English grammar classes. You also have to be a good independent student and be self-disciplined to read lots of grammar books, take notes, and study the Chicago Manual of Style, as that is the guide you use for the publishing industry. There are lots of good websites and resources online when you have questions.
What do you love most about your job? I love helping writers and giving out all my knowledge and making their books shine. It’s very fulfilling. You get to know each person and I’ve made wonderful friends who live all over the world. The other thing that is terrific is you can work anywhere if you have a laptop. You don’t even need an Internet connection most of the time, so you can sit on the beach in the Bahamas and work. Or work at 3 a.m. at home in your PJs and get paid. Not bad, right?
What one part of your job do you wish you could hire someone else to do? Nothing really. I love it all.
What advice would you give to teenagers wanting to get into your field of work? As I mentioned, take English classes and read books on grammar and editing. It takes time to learn all the Chicago rules, and I would recommend starting a notebook as you learn things so you can refer back. If you can find an editor who can help you and mentor you, that would be great. Also you can take online classes from organizations like The Christian PEN and Editcetera. And some colleges offer classes (often online) in editing.
How does your job allow you to use your God-given gifts? Well, I have a gift of writing and teaching, and I love helping people so I feel very fulfilled.
Do you have any hobbies or off-hours pursuits that teenagers would find of interest? I come from a family of successful writers. I grew up collating television scripts for my mother, a screenwriter, story editor, and producer for television. As an adult, I assisted in developing series for television, and while raising two daughters and running a bed and breakfast inn in northern California, wrote my first three novels and a cookbook. I have a series of fairy tales that teens would enjoy called the Gates of Heaven series. I snowboard, backpack, scuba dive, garden, bake bread, and love to read.