Editor: Rachel Bolles Company: Wounded Warrior Project # of years in editing: 12 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I love learning – particularly about the tiny details that make something what it is. As a child, I spent a lot of my time reading and writing. Editing came naturally to me as I studied journalism and psychology in college. I enjoyed my time editing my college’s student newspaper, and I began my career at the local newspaper.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
If there is an opportunity to make the world a better place, I try to take it. I edit PR content at a nonprofit veterans service organization. The messages that reach veterans and their families, and those who support this group of people, are life-changing. I am so grateful to be able to serve in this way.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
My workday begins with checking email – reviewing editing requests, upcoming meetings, and organizational updates. Emails with content ready for edits include the following info: main message, target audience, any unusual elements, and names of who else is reviewing the content. Knowing the content creator’s goals allows me to develop and adjust content effectively and efficiently. I also track content in a spreadsheet, which is organized by creator, focus area, and program. Focus areas are based on the organizational strategic plan. I work best when focusing on one thing at a time, but I also make time to discuss and brainstorm ideas with writers, which has immense value for both of us and leads to innovative ideas.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
Seeing a message transform entire meaning by punctuation placement, specific word choice, or word order. Learning new words that precisely describe an expression. Putting pieces together that result in a giant impact. Brainstorming with coworkers and coming up with effective strategies to communicate particular messages. I love it all!
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
Working through brain fog when feeling burned out. It can be tough to concentrate on precision after working on an exceptionally challenging assignment. Taking a walk, getting fresh air, or deviating from the standard workflow can be revitalizing enough to improve focus. It can help to try changing the font, printing the content, working from a different location in the building, or working on an easier project, if possible.
What are you currently working on?
At any given time, I’m working on a variety of things, including editing content, developing standard messaging and talking points, brainstorming ideas with coworkers, studying and implementing SEO strategy, and updating our internal style guide.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Don’t be afraid to be creative. Look at the different ways an idea can be expressed. This can help you fine-tune your techniques and solidify the most effective ways to communicate. And read – reading is an enjoyable creative outlet that can provide inspiration when you’re ready to focus on editing.