Editor: Jill Campbell Company: Healthline Media # of years in editing: 10 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I’ve always been a reader and a writer in some form. I studied journalism in college, but the program was very newspaper-focused, and I realized that newspapers weren’t for me. At that time I didn’t really know editing could be a career. Two years after graduation, after getting laid off from my first (non-editing) job, I enrolled in a copyediting course and realized it was something I might enjoy.
My first editing “job” was an unpaid magazine internship. After spending a day bent over a desk, marking page proofs, I went home with a huge headache and an aching right hand, thinking, “This must be what it’s like to love your job.” A few weeks later I started a part-time CE position at another company that eventually became full-time.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I started in K–12 educational publishing (print and digital), moved into food media (magazines, books, and digital), and now work in digital health and wellness. I made the shift to my current role because I’d always been interested in health and medical content (I completed the UChicago Medical Editing certificate in 2018) and because I’m passionate about inclusive language and feel it’s essential in the conversation around our bodies and our health.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I work remotely, as do many of my colleagues. We choose assignments from a list of articles waiting to be copyedited, prioritizing certain articles or topics when necessary. On a good day I finish four or five articles, often interspersed with Zoom meetings and quick tasks like CEing social media posts. I’ve never been big on taking breaks during the workday — I prefer to power through and end the day earlier.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
I love words and sentence structure and having a relationship with those things that not everyone has. When I can rearrange an awkward sentence so that it flows more easily, it feels like a puzzle piece clicking into place. Between that and the knowledge that I'm making things clearer and easier for the reader, I find editing to be endlessly satisfying work.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
I’m indecisive and tend to overthink things (not just in work but in life), so I sometimes get hung up on small decisions and details. At that point I have to remind myself that the bigger picture is more important than the minutiae. The goal is not necessarily to make everything perfect — it’s to make the text easy to understand.
What are you currently working on?
I work on a different batch of articles every day — the variety is one of the best parts of the job. A single day might include a clinical health piece, a personal essay, a recipe article, and a step-by-step walkthrough of a workout. I also do freelance copyediting/proofreading and some sensitivity reading of books with plots related to food and eating disorders.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Being an editor is about so much more than grammar and punctuation. There’s always more to learn, even about things you think you already know. Connecting with other editors is a great way to learn more about the field and all the different paths you can take. And in my experience, editors are generally great people.