Saturday, December 30, 2017

Knows not where [s]he's going to...

I'm not cut out to be an editor.

My plan was to go to school, gain an English degree, become an editor to pay the bills, and write my own novels on the side.

And then I took Editing and Proofreading.

The class itself was great. I learned a lot, including that I don't want to be an editor anymore.
Before I continue, let me explain the different types of editors that we learned about:

These are the different types of editors that will work on books, but there are also editors who work on technical manuals, websites, and anything else you can think of with words that people will read. All of these editors have something in common, however: they work with style guides.
A style guide is used by publishing houses and other companies to make sure that everything they publish has internal grammatical consistency. In class, for example, we proofread an already-published book from Bethany House Publishers (BHP). BHP has their own style guide which dictates whether three dots in an ellipses is correct or if four dots are needed, whether or not orange-red needs a hyphen, and other nitpicky details.

THIS is why I don't want to be an editor anymore. They say the devil is in the details, and they (whomever they may be) are right. I consider myself detail-oriented, focused, and patient, but I simply don't like making sure that every comma is compliant with each other and with a publishing house's style guide.
I do not enjoy paging—or, in the case of modern technology, clicking—through a style guide to find out whether or not the publishing house wants to capitalize "He" when referring to God.
Although I enjoyed having the power to change organization, sentence structure, and even paragraph organization during our substantive and copy editing projects, I did not enjoy having to decide if strange sentence construction was distracting or if it was simply the author's voice.
I don't like how impersonal it is. Sometimes, an editor never talks directly with the author. If the editor does talk with the author, he or she is supposed to be polite but anything more is not encouraged. I understand that... after all, editing is, in a way, a business transaction. Like any business transaction, it should be polite and detached. But if I love an author's work, I want to tell them that. I want to become their friend and learn what was in their head when they thought of a particular scene or character. I want to tell everyone how much I loved their work. I want to work with them again. More often than not, however, editors and authors don't stick together, especially if the editor is freelancing (a.k.a. not working with a publishing house or company).

So, I'm not cut out to be an editor. As the song says, I "know not where [I'm] going to." If I'm not to be an editor, what am I to do? I asked a very similar question three-and-a-half years ago when I discovered that I was not cut out to be a full time, wage-earning youth/worship leader. It took me over a year to process that discovery, but at the end of that year plus, I decided to go to school to get an English degree. I'm not regretting that decision in the slightest, as I love love LOVE my department and what I'm studying.
But, I also don't know what I want to do with my degree once I graduate, especially since I've added a history minor and what in the world does one do with an English/History/Bible degree in this day and age?? Become a professor, I suppose. I don't know if that's what I want to do, but it's an option that I need to think and pray about.

I don't graduate for two-and-a-half years, so I have lots of time to think and pray.

What about you? What do you want to be when you grow up (even if you are already grown up, you can still answer!)? Have you ever had your plans derailed? How did you set the train back on the tracks again? Leave me a comment and let me know; I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Wonderful post. So honest and refreshing to see you grappling with these issues.

    Though I have never even considered editing as a profession, I completely agree with your assessment of the impersonal, professional side of it. These are minds alive on the shelves as one author put it, not mere commodities, or sentence constructions to be molded and conformed to a preset pattern. Yes, grammar is hugely important and I actually love it because it helps me communicate better, but editing should not be so cold and calculated.

    Not saying you should go this route necessarily, but being a professor would give you quite a bit of free time to write on the side. Plus, it seems like professors have an easier road to traditional publishing. I mean it worked out pretty well for Lewis and Tolkien, didn't it?

    The other thing you might consider is journalism. This is something I considered at one point. Because there you're actually paid to write. What a concept! So your job will hopefully be reinforcing your writing on the side. I believe Karen Kingsbury and Jerry Jenkins started off in this field. You also might make some connections in the publishing world to help you down the road.

    Anyway, glad to hear from you again. Have a Happy New Year!

    1. Some professors are even required by their universities to publish (in journals and stuff), so that would give me an opportunity to write, too.
      I hadn't thought of journalism! I'll have to do some research into that. I think my school offers a course in journalism, too, so I could always try it out with a class.
      Thanks for the suggestion and the comment! It's great to hear from you, too. Happy 2018!

  2. For most, I think, what they end up doing in life is not a straight path and that to me is quite exciting. When I started my degree I had social work in mind but after taking some obligatory stats/research courses I enjoyed these immensely and my career path veered into medical research support.

    1. Life is definitely a journey. I'm excited to one day be able to look back at everything that led me to where I'll go... but first I have to do the figuring-out part, and that's hard. I didn't know that you were going to go into social work when you started your degree! One of the reasons I'm glad that universities have required core classes is because you get to learn whether or not you are actually in the right major. I never would have added a history minor if it were not for my required Western Civ class.

  3. It's so hard. Thinking you know what you want and then just having everything derailed. Though I'm just graduating this year, it's daunting to think of my whole life ahead of me. What kinds of choices am I going to make? Good ones I hope.

    I hope in whatever you do, you continue to seek the Lord, always. Have a beautiful 2018, Abbey. <333

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Madeline :) It means a lot to me. I'm sure you will make good choices! And even if they don't work out, God can work that out for good, too. Happy New Year! <3