Editor: Dr. Charita Ray-Blakely Company: Consolidated Performance Consulting Number of years in editing: 10 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I have always had a knack for writing and editing. I guess you could say these are innate abilities refined while completing a bachelor's degree in Journalism. However, it was not until I completed a doctorate that I started working as an editor. Specifically, the editor I hired to edit my dissertation, complimented my writing skills and shared that document editing was minimal. She subsequently suggested I consider professionally editing dissertations or other academic documents as a means to earn extra cash. After a brief consideration of her suggestion, I decided to try academic editing. I quickly realized the need for editors, not only for proofreading and editing but to teach individuals about writing.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
My area of focus is education. I selected this niche because the editor I hired to edit my dissertation suggested I try my hand at editing academic documents for extra cash.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I am a freelance editor and work directly with students by appointment. Between student appointments, I complete other contracted work. Specifically, I edit and write for different businesses and facilitate professional development workshops in writing and other content areas. I am better able to manage my time because I work by appointment.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
Believe it or not, my favorite thing about being an editor is teaching people about writing.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
My biggest challenge is my desire to teach people the fundamentals of writing and explain why their errors exist. Most clients only want what I consider a "drop-off" service. In other words, most clients want to drop off an unedited paper and pick up an edited paper without consideration for the reasons behind their writing errors. As a result, the same errors in their writing are present the next time I work with them. I work through this challenge by speaking with a willing client about their paper or document to discuss areas of concern instead of sending the edited document back without conversation. Whenever I can, I teach.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently developing a new writing presentation for graduate students and co-writing a book to address current social tensions.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Remember that you are human and that humans make mistakes. Just because you are an editor does not mean you cannot make a mistake. As an editor, you should be willing to learn from your mistakes and not repeat them. You should also use resources and tools to help cut down on the number of mistakes.