Editor: Dinah Rogers Company: Lines & Spaces Number of years in editing: In August, 2014, I lost my job and took early retirement. I immediately turned to my dream job--writing--and focused on editing.
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
When I retired from my first career, I obtained copyediting certifications via an intensive course at the local community college and through Poynter. I discovered how much less I knew than I thought I did! I launched a freelance copyediting business. My husband and I downsized to a 40' motorhome and traveled the US for several years, with me working from my dashboard home office. We now split our time between the midwest and north central Florida and still love to travel. I work on non-fiction only, and specialize in editing and writing for architecture, interior design, and furniture-centric clients.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
My long career was in commercial interior design, construction, architecture, and furniture. I was in management for many years at a high-end office furniture dealership. Besides the showroom and design department-oriented responsibilities, my job included writing proposals, creating marketing materials, and other business correspondence. When I decided to pursue freelance writing and editing, it was natural to specialize in the industry I knew inside out.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
True confession time: I'm a terrible time manager, by traditional measures! I work best when pushing against a deadline. I spend a lot more time than I bill, but that's the choice I make. I enjoy research, including the detours, and rabbit holes. I only bill my clients for the productive time I spend directly creating their assignment. I work in my home office and generally start my day late morning with a break for cooking and eating dinner, and I like to work late at night.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
I love swapping out dull words for rich ones, bringing clarity and color to the reader. I enjoy developing my clients' voice and helping them share their message on brand.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
Repeated revisions that seem subjective erode my motivation. The only way through it is to just keep going. I try to set aside my ego and see what the client is grasping for!
What are you currently working on?
I'm busy revising a number of project case studies for a national furniture planning consultant, editing them for relevance to a specific market. I'm also writing a couple of bios on new hires for a client's website.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Make sure your skills in the basics of grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure are tops.
Start a library of good reference materials.
Network. Make sure everyone you know knows that you're an editor for hire, but do some volunteer editing (church, charity group, book club etc.) to get some writing examples under your belt.