Learning to Edit: A Love Story

Research writing is what started it all. I loved to edit things for my grad school friends. Need a pithier “call for papers?” I’m your gal. Want another set of eyes on that article draft? I’d love to read it! Your chapter draft just trails off because you lost your narrative thread and now you’re afraid you don’t have an argument? Ooooh, I’d really like to iron that out with you. Graduate school ended. My interest in editing continued.

Grammar books became beach reading.

In my years as a professor, I advised around 50 thesis writers through the process of choosing a topic, pacing their workflow, multiple drafts, and finished product. On the side, I also edited books and book proposals and journal articles. I enrolled in formal editing courses that I could complete while my children slept.

Recently, I consulted on how to teach op-ed writing to business leaders and, for another firm, how to put together a developmental editing service for first time authors. This new line of business would guide writers one-on-one from book idea to completed book proposal and sample chapter.

Still. Not. Sated.

These days, I’m hoping to edit more often than my moonlighting during jobs and between three pregnancies allowed. I have demonstrated strength in long-form non-fiction and would describe my approach as a blend of project manager and marathon coach.  I’m great at outlining–including outlining a handful of possible organizations for a chapter of a whole book. I break long-haul projects into discrete tasks and intermediate deliverables and plot those on a timeline that keeps work on track.

I’m also interested in work at the copy level. I enjoy editing short-form essays, making their argument tighter, their prose more concise. I can diplomatically query jargon, catch a slipped verb tense, and also help brainstorm a better opening hook.

I am most interested in growing. I thrive in fast-paced collaborative environments and am a quick study for picking up new content knowledge. I’ve begun training in technical and proposals writing, but know I could learn lots more if I worked in books or communications. Being part of creating excellent written products–as writer or editor– is my passion. Now it’s time to revise my professional context.

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