Research writing, being surrounded by researchers trying to transform their knowledge into something readable, that’s when I developed a new affection. I really like pens with colored ink, gel pens in deep colors, specifically. I especially like using them to leave margin notes and proofreader’s marks on unfinished writing. First I vigorously marked up my own copy this way; it made it easier to see all my desired changes to this final read-through. Soon though, I was seeking other people’s drafts. Increasingly, I realized the delight of ink flowing smoothly from the pen and practicality of colorful marks when tracking changes were just an excuse. Research writing was my intended but I had fallen for editing.
My fellow doctoral students proved wiling and gracious guinea pigs. Need help crafting a pithy “call for papers” that is still under 700 words? I’m your gal. Want another set of eyes on that article draft? I’d love to read it! Mind if I mark it up, though? So your chapter draft just trails off because you lost your narrative thread? Interesting. I’d really like to iron that out with you.
Though graduate school ended, my interest in editing continued. As a professor, I advised around 50 thesis writers through the process of choosing a topic, pacing their workflow, drafting and redrafting, and polishing a finished product. I also edited books and book proposals on the side. I enrolled in online editing courses that I could complete while my newborns slept. Grammar books became preferred beach reading. The Oxford comma is now my most firmly held political stance.
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 to get them from book idea to book proposal and sample chapter.
Still. Not. Sated.
Now I’m hoping to edit more often than I was able during my recent season of freelancing between pregnancies. As I return to full time work, I’m looking forward to the way editing requires that I read outside my own expertise and learn continually. I am interested in using my editing background on new kinds of deliverables or in different industries than I’ve worked before.
I have demonstrated strengths in long form non-fiction and would describe my approach to developmental editing as a blend of project manager and marathon coach. I’m great at outlining–-including mocking up a handful of possibilities for reorganizing a chapter or for tailoring the narrative arc of a whole book. I break long-haul projects into intuitive pieces that make execution and quality control simpler for writers to manage. I set deadlines for intermediate deliverables and plot those a project timeline that keeps work on track and allows me to identify issues with argument development or research gaps early enough to address them well before the final draft.
I also enjoy working in shorter formats. I can diplomatically query jargon, catch the verb tense that slipped between those paragraphs, and help you brainstorm a better opening hook. With experience in WordPress, Hootsuite, and the basics of HTML and CSS, I can also edit digital content.
Ultimately, I am interested in growing. I am ready to expand my writing and editing skills and believe that shifting the industry in which I work is the surest route to finding the challenges I crave. It’s time for me to add new tools, specialized knowledges, and work products to my professional life.
Time to discover what other loves await beyond the tip of my trusty red ink pen…