Concerning a Career

Whenever I tell people I'm majoring in history and literature, a natural question follows.  "So are you going to be a teacher?"  Actually, no!  With a good liberal arts education the possibilities are endless - teaching is not the only option.  What I want to do with my life is be an editor.

I realized suddenly that when I tell people what I want to do with my life, sooner or later I'll have to answer  the question "Why?  Why do you want to be an editor?"  I suppose it is an odd thing to have as a goal.  It's not as far-fetched as, say, popcorn salesman, but it is a career that not everyone even realize exists.  And really, I shouldn't be pursuing this course unless I can answer the question to myself.

One reason for choosing editing, and specifically freelance editing, as a career is because I can pursue it simultaneous to my vocation, which is to be a wife and mother.  There's no way I am going to try and get a job that would take me away from my family.  Editing is a field I can get into immediately after college before I get married, which will, God willing, enable me to get my foot in the door, so that by the time I have children I will have established an ability to pursue freelancing from the home.

Editing is also a job for which I am particularly well suited.  I'm detail-oriented and can notice tiny mistakes and differences, which helps with line editing.  I've also read enough that I know what makes good writing.  Editing doesn't just mean line-editing, finding the misplaced commas or correcting typographical errors.  It stretches beyond that - it means helping the author express what they want to say in the best way possible.  As freelance editor Matthew Bowman says over at Novel Ninja,
Our job as editors is to help you build, create, shape, and entertain. Depending on the project and where you are in it, your editor might be dealing with abstract plot sketching or something as specific as figuring out what word-choice habits a bit character might have in chapter twelve.

I have the ability, I believe, to take a piece of writing and help the author make it better.  It's a talent that I still need to work on and perfect, but it's definitely something I believe I am good at.

Most importantly, though, I honestly enjoy being able to take writing and not just analyze it but help craft it into a better product.  Editing is fun for me!  From minute details to big picture, I find a delight not in finding mistakes but in participating in the craftsmanship, the art, of the writer.  While I can write decently well, writing is not my passion as much as reading is.  I love reading, I love the art of the written word, and editing is how I can best participate in that art.

That, I believe, is the fundamental reason for my desire to be an editor.  It is a job that requires my talents and rewards my passion, my love for the written word, for the art of literature.  Books, words, language - all of these can be so beautiful and can have such an extreme impact on the imagination and thereby on the soul.  The editor's job participates in a unique way in the skill of the author - recognizing it, shaping it, directing and focusing it.  I want to do that and I want to do it well.  And that, my friends, is why I want to be an editor!