My background as an editor began in high school, where I found an interest in Journalism by working for both my school’s newspaper and yearbook staff. I started off as a freshman “entry level” newspaper staff member and wrote articles about anything I found intriguing happening either on campus or in my hometown of Lake Mary. As a member of the yearbook staff, I was assigned certain spreads and took pictures, interviewed students, and designed pages for the final publication. Even though I enjoyed working for both periodicals, I really fell in love with Journalism the most. I liked working under pressure, being able to go “behind-the-scenes”, talking to and learning about new people, and of course, writing. I also liked working together as a team with my staff as we peer reviewed frequently and were always giving and receiving feedback, which was my first experience with editing on a smaller scale. As the years went on and I became more involved with the newspaper, I was chosen to be Copy Editor, which made me responsible for correcting all the grammar, spelling, and overall quality of the articles before they went to print. Even though the job was tedious at times, I enjoyed the work and felt like it came naturally to me.
An appreciation for literature is a necessity when it comes to being an editor. I feel like I have a natural eye for editing because I grew up loving to read and have been exposed to so many different styles of writing over the years. In class, I opened up my eyes more to what the editor role really meant as a profession. You’re supposed to have your own knowledge and skillset when it comes to grammar, spelling, and style, but it’s extremely important to know how to work with clients and see things from their point of view as well. Also, it’s key to acknowledge the fact that the people you’re really working for are the readers. The work you do as an editor is mostly for the audience’s benefit.
What I value about my editorial role is that I take pride in turning an unfinished work into a well-refined product. I enjoy the process of reviewing and tweaking until a piece of writing flows perfectly. When I was an editor for my school paper, I felt proud that not only my teacher but the rest of the staff that I’d been working with for a year or more trusted me enough to appoint me to an editing position. I was honored that they saw my potential and I felt a great responsibility to not let them down, so I was very dedicated to making sure that I carefully reviewed everything that came to my desk and was as thorough as possible. Even though I was making sure my staff was happy with my editing and the finished product, I realize now that the people I was really working for the most were the readers. I always looked forward to every Friday when my friends, classmates, and teachers came up to me and congratulated me on a great issue with interesting articles and an attractive layout (and hopefully no typos or mistakes).
I think it’s important for an editor to be detail-oriented, a perfectionist, thorough, creative, personable, adaptable, and open-minded. You definitely have to care about the “little things” that some people would otherwise think are irrelevant. I often get made fun of for correcting my friends’ grammar or use of vocabulary words and usually get the response, “Why does it matter?! You know what I mean!” To me and to most people with an “editorial eye”…it does matter and it means a lot to us to use the English language properly. Also, a lot of the mistakes you’ll find in a paper are small and easy to overlook at first glance. That’s why it’s important to be as thorough as possible because every little mistake hurts your credibility which inevitably hurts your readers in the end. I think it’s vital to be creative and adaptable as an editor because you have to be able to think of alternative ways to word and phrase things for a variety of audiences. Being personable and open-minded comes in handy when dealing with clients because you’re going to have to see eye-to-eye with whoever you’re working with and be open to establishing a copacetic and respectable professional relationship. If you don’t have a good relationship and honest communication with whoever you’re working with, it’s going to be hard to create the best possible product for both the writer and the readers.
The personality traits that play a role in my editorial work are that I love to read and write as a pastime, so reading other people’s work and editing and making corrections doesn’t really feel like hard work to me. It’s satisfying and comes naturally so I’m willing to put in a lot of time, effort, and passion into editing without it feeling like a chore. I’m also extremely detail-oriented when it comes to not only working with language but also working with design. I can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to putting together a paper or a project so I notice even the most miniscule of details that seem “off”. I also feel like I know how to work with people and communicate effectively without coming off as domineering or condescending. When I was editing for my school newspaper, I was always willing to help and put in my two cents but I respected the vision of whoever I was working with and made sure to treat everyone with respect.
After wrapping up my Professional Editing course, I have rekindled my love for editing. I can definitely see myself gaining more experience and knowledge in the editing world and pursuing a career in the field. I’ve always had big dreams of moving to New York and becoming a newscaster or writing stories for a newspaper or magazine. Now after declaring a minor in Writing & Rhetoric, I can see even more doors opening for me in the future. I feel most drawn to editing newspaper articles and magazine articles but I plan on working hard to refine my skills in my time left at UCF and obtain internships that help me broaden my editing expertise and get closer to achieving my goals.