Editor: Nancy Zastudil Company: The Necessarian # of years in editing: 15 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I grew up loving to read, and my mother was an English teacher. Diagramming sentences was incredibly satisfying for me and it helped me understand (and memorize) elements of sentence structure. As a young adult, I excelled in writing and language but never thought twice about what that would mean for my future. In my 30s I began editing artist statements, exhibition proposals, tenure documents and similar for many of my friends who were artists. It was such a mutually rewarding process that I decided to hone my skills and formalize my freelance work by establishing my business The Necessarian, LLC, through which I offer editing services to artists and arts organizations.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
My area of focus is offering editing services to artists and arts organizations, and I am especially interested in working toward equitable representation in the arts. I am guided by my beliefs in art as a gateway to learning and literacy as a pathway to empowerment. This niche presented itself out of necessity: artists needed an editor and I just happened to be one. Today, this has expanded into working with galleries and non-profit institutions as well.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I have a fulltime job as gallery director at a non-profit arts organization; The Necessarian is my independent business. My alarm goes off each morning at 5:30 a.m. and, once I peel myself out of bed, I sit down to work on essays, exhibition catalogues, website content and similar for my clients. I also work on my own writing because I am a regular contributor for an arts magazine out of Texas. I go for a run (almost) every day at 7:00 a.m., eat breakfast (thanks to my incredible fiance), and am in my office by 9:00 a.m. After a full day of work, I come home and jump right back into serving my clients.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
My favorite thing about being an editor is akin to my favorite thing about art-making and curating: the importance of context.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
My biggest challenge at the moment is juggling numerous projects and staying informed about shifts in verbal and written representation for communities outside my personal experience or preference. I am hoping to expand my business by bringing some incredible editors on board to be more inclusive in serving the diverse needs of artists and arts organizations.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am working on several exhibition catalogues for a gallery in Los Angeles. I am also working with a handful of artists on their writing about their artworks. Finally, I am in the process of developing an online course for self-editing.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Read (and learn from) anything that is written by people whose life experiences are different from your own. Be curious about language, its history, and its impact. Be gentle in your editorial inquires, and be bold when advocating for the author's voice.