Thanks to the increasing number of websites, online publications, blogs, and social networking sites, anyone can now be a published writer. To ensure that written communications and the accompanying visuals are accurate, clear, and interesting, editors are more important than ever.
In a sense, everyone edits. A writer revises a manuscript. A speaker pauses in mid-sentence to find a better word. A student clarifies her lecture notes. They are all editing.
Professional editors carry out those sorts of tasks for a living. Editors work in a variety of industries and take on countless different tasks. But no matter what project an editor is tackling, the goal is always the same: to improve the quality of communication.
If you love to read, have a way with words, have a creative bent of mind, are curious and a critical thinker, then a career as an editor may be the right fit for you!
An editor's interests and abilities
Most people become professional editors because they're intrigued by language.
They enjoy finding just the right word to convey a point, making sense of a complicated piece of information, and working with text until it flows smoothly. They have a passion for detail and accuracy. They find themselves drawn to editing because they can't ignore the mistakes they see in publications. They notice illogical arguments, inaccurate statistics, and poorly constructed sentences.
A career in editing goes beyond the love for a language. Successful editors turn that interest and skill into a way to earn a living and have an impact on the world around them.
An editor must not only be proficient in grammar, spelling, and composition but must also have the ability to
Work Culture of an Editor
Editors can be found everywhere. They work in publishing, sales and marketing, manufacturing, government, law, education, and many other fields. Editors can be specialists who, for example, edit only scientific or medical documents, or they can be generalists who work on all kinds of content. They may be employed in a particular office or work as freelancers.
A career as an editor can be exciting and rewarding, but it can be challenging too.
Editors have immense creative freedom. They can exercise it by coming up with new ideas and planning the content. If you choose to work as an editor in a publishing field, then you can even get the liberty to freelance or work from home at times.
One of the perks of this profession is that you get to meet a lot of people and can make connections with them. Those people can be from different walks of life, so you get to hobnob with the powerful and the influential.
However, to excel in the field, you'll have to work long hours as the industry is very competitive and that can put a strain on your personal relationships. If you work in the news media industry, you may have to work weekends and even on public holidays.
This is one job that involves a huge amount of stress because editors are usually under deadline.
Demand for editors in the post-COVID internet era
Day after day, the idea of working from home continues to rise in the American consciousness. The COVID-19 pandemic saw people working from home that typically worked exclusively in an office. Companies are getting used to the idea that a work from home (WFH) revolution is taking place, that people want more control over their personal schedules, code of dress, and work hours.
Careers in writing and editing have historically been ones you could do from home, but with the need for social media marketing, proofreading, and copywriting constantly growing in our tech-centric world, the demand for capable self-starters with writing and editing experience is on the rise.
High School is a great time to explore your passion
If literature is your passion, you probably know that it can often be difficult to find a community or a group activity that involves creative writing—after all, writing can be a very solitary activity. That being said, we don’t all have to stay in isolation like the famous poet Emily Dickinson. In fact, it can often be beneficial to work with others and collaborate on a creative project.
Joining your high school literary magazine can be a great way to get involved with other creative individuals. You might get the chance to read and talk about the work of others. If you decide to become editor, you’ll also get the chance to build valuable leadership skills within this community.
How to become an Editor
Post high school, if you wish to take up editing as a career, earn a bachelor's degree in English or a related field, such as communications or journalism.
Candidates with other backgrounds who can show strong writing skills also may find jobs as editors. Editors who deal with specific subject matters may need related work experience. For example, fashion editors may need expertise in fashion that they gain through formal training or work experience.
You can gain experience through internships in newspapers and magazines. Many editors start off as editorial assistants, writers, or reporters.