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!