Has the editor’s role changed with technology? Do editors still have the same job to do?
Technology has certainly changed some of the ways editors do their work and the types of documents they edit, but not the reason for editing. An editor’s goal is still the same: to improve communication.
Depending on the industry and media, there are different kinds of editors, specifically technical editors, book editors, web content editors, academic editors, and medical and scientific editors. This is about those editors who refine the written word, rather than those who work with film, video, or sound.
Filed under Editing, Writing
The tagline for my company, Working Words, is “Getting right to the point.” It’s a promise to clients.
When I started this blog post, I wasn’t sure if “preoccupied” was the right word. I considered using ‘”obsessed.” The words are close, but slightly different. “Preoccupied” means that you are so absorbed in thinking about or doing something that you forget everything else. On the other hand, “obsessed” means that you never stop thinking about something. I chose “preoccupied” because once a writing project is finished, I stop thinking about the words I’ve used.
I can spend an inordinate amount of time with synonym and dictionary tools. The synonym feature in Microsoft Word is my best friend and I use it all the time. Right-clicking on any word (on a PC, anyway) brings up a list of word alternatives. If I change one word to another, I can click again and get another list. This can turn into a fun vocabulary game that I play for too long and forget everything else. The phone can ring, the dryer can beep, but I ignore (or is it “disregard”?) these distractions. I think this qualifies as a preoccupation.
I wanted to be a writer all my life, but with a college degree in creative writing, it wasn’t easy to find a job or a career. I knew it was wishful thinking to believe I might someday become a successful novelist or poet.
My career as a book editor
I searched around for any job that had something to do with writing. Luckily, I got a break, and I was hired as an assistant editor for a book publishing company in Los Angeles. Aside from answering phones and typing up author and agent correspondence, I reviewed the unsolicited manuscripts and made publishing recommendations based on character and plot development. I seemed to have a knack for editing–I had found my career.
After a year, I made the move to New York. All the major publishing houses were there and it wasn’t hard to find a position as a book editor. The only problem was that I hated living in New York. On an assistant editor’s salary, the city was a struggle. So I moved back to Los Angeles and found one of the only book publishing companies around there. Once hired, I worked with famed authors and budding novelists. But soon the company cut back its business and most of us lost our jobs.