Becoming an Editor

“Would you be interested in specifically following an editor's career path?” my boss at the publishing house where I worked asked me a few years into my time there.

“I don’t think I have the patience for it,” I told him. "I'd like to stay on the path I'm on."

That was my response for two reasons. First, I didn’t think I wanted to sit at a computer most of every day. Second, I liked what I was doing—publishing process management. So I was privileged to continue meeting the challenges of editorial process, working with editors, intersecting with other disciplines in the house like sales and marketing, and making publishing plans for books and Bibles. I eventually became an executive managing editor.  

But that didn’t mean I didn’t want to edit. I did! I took an editing correspondence course and did well. I soaked up everything I could from the experienced and skilled editors I worked with. At one time I led an in-house team that provided editing services to the sales and marketing departments, and I tackled some of that work myself. I trained editorial assistants. And I loved all those aspects of my job and those experiences. In addition, I was permitted to freelance edit books on a non-compete basis.

Fast-forward to 2011, and it was time to not only move closer to family, which meant giving up my job, but to…wait for it…sit at a computer most of every day! I was finally ready to edit full-time; I do have the patience for it!

I launched Bloom in Words Editorial Services in fall of 2011, and I love it. I continue to learn—to "become"—through each experience, by reading books on writing and editing, by occasionally attending writers' conferences, and from both freelance and in-house editors who send me projects.

I’m sometimes asked how to become an editor. The path is different for everyone. Mine started when I was given a temporary editorial assistant job at a publishing house that turned into a decades-long career. But this is my advice: search the internet with the words How to become an editor. You’ll find scores of articles, like this one. And if you want to take some courses, look for sites like The Christian Pen.

If you have an aptitude for editing (or proofreading, a great way to start), I believe you will uncover it with every effort and opportunity you take.

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