Editor: Ruksana Hussain Company: RuksanaWrites Number of years in editing: 19 years
Tell us a little about yourself, including how you got started as an editor?
I am a Los Angeles-based freelance editor and writer with print and online outlets. My first position straight out of college in India was as an editor for a chess magazine so training began on the job. Years later, after I moved to the United States, I volunteered as an assistant editor and eventually worked as a copy editor for a magazine where I was also a writer.
What is your area of focus and why did you select this niche?
I do not have a specific niche as far as industry or subject area. I enjoy that aspect of the job as I learn about myriad topics all the time. I tend to work primarily with AP style or a hybrid of that and a publication or client's custom style guide.
Walk us through a typical workday. How do you manage your time?
No two days are alike so I try to create a broad framework of tasks to complete, with a list of top 2-5 essential jobs for the day. Days begin and end with a look at work emails to ensure everything is in order and then I block out specific chunks to get editing and writing accomplished. There is also administrative work involved in being a solopreneur and I try to leave aside time for that weekly as well as some time for reading and catching up on what's going on in the industry. Time management for me is simple—jotting down tasks on my daily schedule and recording them on my calendar online, too. I do pencil in time for breaks, meals, and a walk/nap!
What is your favorite thing about being an editor?
All the reading! Working with words. Learning about language, every day. Especially when I learn a new industry phrase or note a unique sentence structure or set of words used in a context I haven't seen before...I love what I do and so glad I get to do it for a living.
What is your biggest challenge and how do you work through this?
Not enough hours! I try to manage my time as best I can but there are days when I wish I had a few extra pairs of hands attached to my brains and I could just delegate tasks away.
What are you currently working on?
My digital magazine that I publish online monthly. I am the editor of a diversity-focused publication and am working on the next edition there. I am clearing out my calendar for the next week when my monthly copyediting pages for another magazine will start coming in. I also have a handful of articles I am writing that need to be filed in the next few days.
What advice do you have for someone who is just starting their career as an editor?
There are opportunities aplenty so jump right in. If you enjoy the work, you will find yourself immersed in it for hours on end so ensure you train yourself to break away every now and then to enjoy time outside of edits. Find your editing community and also one outside of it—networking professionally is important but so is social networking as well.