Editor: Karyn Johnson Company: Kimball Midwest Number of years in editing: 16 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I currently work as a communications specialist for an industrial supply company. It's a mix of marketing and internal communications. I get to write and edit, and sometimes I get to dabble a bit in graphic design.
I have a bachelor's in English from The Ohio State University (Buckeye for life!), and I recently earned a master's in marketing and communication from Franklin University.
I started editing professionally when my husband and I were stationed in Germany. It can be difficult for military spouses to have a career path, but I tapped into my natural strengths in writing and editing and started freelancing. Even before that, I often edited things for friends and family, and I taught composition classes. Grading composition essays involves editing, of course. I can't really remember a time in my adult life when I wasn't editing.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I am a generalist. My niche when I started freelancing was travel and tourism. (At the time, I was a travel blogger since we were seeing a lot of Europe.) However, I have done a lot of work in other fields over the years, especially education and law. I work for an industrial supplier now, but that's not a niche I selected as much as fell into.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
I'm lucky that I don't have a really fast pace in my current role, other than during the first five business days of the month. I work with my team to produce and send out approximately 30 newsletters in that timeframe. I am solely responsible for 10 of those. I've been doing this for three years now, so I've found shortcuts when working in InDesign to make the process more efficient. And I work on getting as much content as I can ahead of newsletter time, which makes those first few days of the month just a little less stressful.
The rest of the time, I can't say I have a typical workday. So many deliverables come through my team for editing: product flyers, internal memos, promotion updates, etc. I also write and edit blog posts and long-form articles for our quarterly magazine and manage the social media accounts. I prioritize the projects according to the deadlines, and the whole communications team looks at everything before it goes out.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
I love seeing the finished piece, knowing what the initial draft looked like.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
The biggest challenge right now is focusing on using conscious language in company communications. We are still figuring it out, and I'm leading the way when it comes to that. I'm in the Culture, Diversity, and Inclusion group at work, and communication is my specific area of focus. I can go to the group with any questions and concerns, and we can work through the challenges together. I'm always learning how to improve in this respect.
What are you currently working on?
Outside of my full-time job, I still dabble in freelancing from time to time. I've been doing some travel articles recently, and that's been a lot of fun.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
Never stop learning. There are so many different workshops and courses to brush up on your skills and expand your skillset. And, of course, there are networks of editors out there who can answer questions and support you. Don't be afraid to ask questions or seek advice.