Posted on June 10, 2012
So I’m starting a new business as a freelance copyeditor and proofreader. No, this is not a shill for that business (that will come later when I’m more organized). It’s actually just some thoughts about how I’m learning even more about myself and my writing just from getting ready for the new job.
I’ve been a teacher for a while, and I’ve seen all different levels and styles of writing. Grading writing is always the last thing an English teacher wants to do. We like teaching concepts, and we love seeing our students start to get them. But we’ll let essays pile up until we’re inundated with stacks of essays we have to finally sit down and painfully just do it. Stacks of barely stapled essays can still make me shiver. So if it’s painful to grade papers, why would I choose to make it my work?
Let me just say that while it gives me lots of experience in assessing and analyzing writing, grading stacks of high school or college papers doesn’t compare to editing or proofing someone’s creative product. There are many reasons I’m starting with a freelance editing business. The number one reason is – I love books! I’ve been a reader all of my life, and I will be a reader until I die. And there’s nothing more satisfying then getting lost in someone’s writing and finding my imagination soaring with his or her words. Well-written books have that effect on me. In my preparations, I’m learning that well-written books take some serious care and service in terms of getting them ready to be released into the world of readers. And in reality, it would be a privilege to be a part of helping someone get their book ready for that process.
More importantly, I get to learn more about my own writing process while embarking on this endeavor. Just from prepping and organizing, I’m having to give lots of thought as to how I would want someone to edit my work. I think we writers are all a little sensitive to the red pen syndrome. But unlike analyzing a paper for a grade that comes and goes, editing and proofreading creative writing to put it out into the reader-verse is much more rewarding. I know I want my writing to be around for years to come, and I know it will take care and other team members to help me craft it into the best writing possible. That same care I would want is what I hope I will give to others.
Okay, I promised this wouldn’t be a shill for my business. But I know that I’ve done more reflection about my own writing as I’m working hard at the transition to editing. Life experiences help make us better writers, and I hope to continue that journey always.