Editor: Paul Tew Number of years in editing: About 10 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I was working as a QA Engineer for a startup company and they needed someone to review the writing that went up on our website. I volunteered and became the go to guy for editing in the company.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I started my career working in software development, so a lot of the work I have done is with technical writing. I have edited technical manuals, marketing material, and web content for software companies.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
When I'm handling a lot of projects I always try and prioritize smaller projects, and read through everything once before I begin editing. When I'm editing I try to take a break periodically and respond to emails or give clients an update on projects.
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
Having the opportunity to work with language, and helping others convey their content more clearly.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
The most difficult thing for me is networking. Since I focus on editing technical materials a lot of the potential jobs are smaller. There are some opportunities to edit larger technical manuals, but a lot of the work I have been involved with isn't as labor-intensive as editing an entire book. This means more time spent following up to find new opportunities.
What are you currently working on?
My most recent project was editing and writing web content for a midsize startup.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
If you are working in a position that isn't related to editing, make sure people at your company know about your editing skills. Companies frequently rely on inexperienced employees to create unedited content because they don't realize they have someone with an editing background on staff. Let your company know that you are a capable editor and it will open up opportunities to do editing work and gain valuable experience.