Editor: Dana Sitar Company: Freelance Number of years in editing: Nine
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I’ve been writing and editing for almost a decade, with a focus on blogging and digital media. I cover careers and personal finance, and I train writers, editors, and journalists across disciplines on writing for the web.
I got started as an editor when friends and family turned to me for editing and feedback on their writing because I was a writer. Over the years I took on more and more freelance editing and eventually became a full-time editor while working at The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance site.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I work on just about anything, from niche blogs to academic papers, but my main niche is personal finance. I fell into it by way of covering freelance writing and careers, and became intimately familiar with the industry as a staff writer and editor at The Penny Hoarder for four years.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I work from home as a freelancer, so I get to make my own schedule. :) I keep a regular schedule of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day to set clear boundaries. I have a full morning routine to make sure I’m well fed, energized, and ready to focus before I start working, I take a lengthy lunch break and I get out for a #stetwalk most afternoons (Thanks, Tanya Gold!).
I organize my to-do list with Google Calendar tasks, so I can set priorities for each day and avoid a running, endless to-do list.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
Hard to pick one thing… I love that everything I edit teaches me something new. I’ve edited on topics ranging from political research to mortgages, and being an editor is an opportunity to ask ALL the questions and become familiar with the nitty-gritty of a new topic.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
My biggest challenge as a freelance editor is convincing clients of the value of editing. I can find more work and earn better ROI from writing work as a freelancer. (As a staffer, I’ve been able to earn more as an editor than a writer because of accompanying management duties in the role.)
I don’t have a solution for this challenge, but I navigate it by doing editing work with clients I trust and know value my skills. I don’t often pursue editing work with clients I don’t know well.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently doing a lot of SEO work for clients, updating and rewriting blog posts to rank in search. For the first time, I’m also volunteering with a state-level political campaign, editing policy documents on everything from education funding to health care, which is a great learning opportunity!
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Editing is way more than catching typos. Even if you know that, you might have to know how to convince clients or employers of that fact. An editor is, in fact, an advocate—for good writing, for the audience, for the goal of the piece, and for the author.
Please read my post at The Write Life on how to become an editor for a ton more information for beginners!