Posts filed under Editor

Marissa Page: Senior Writer & Editor

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Name: Marissa Page

Age: 25

College & Majors/Minors: B.A. in English, M.S. in Management

Current Location: Phoenix, AZ

Current Form of Employment: Sr. Writer and Editor 

Where do you work and what is your current position? 

Policy and procedure editor at a financial services company. 

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

I got my first "official" (i.e., paid/non-internship) job—a staff position as an editorial aide at my university—through connections I made during my very first editorial internship. It pays to network and put yourself out there, even if it seems uncomfortable at first. Peers and mentors you meet in your first job(s) are your biggest allies. I still list many of them as references on applications, and do my best to check in with them at least once or twice yearly to maintain those relationships. 

Additionally, I didn't turn down any chances to put my resume out there, even if it was just on a local job board and seemed like a long shot. I'm so glad I did, because my current employer found my resume on one of those postings and reached out to me directly to schedule an interview. It just goes to show that you never know who is paying attention! 

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career? 

My current role as a policy and procedure editor has been significant in developing my professional writing skills. I've learned the importance of editing without sacrificing meaning, and that every single word matters, particularly from a compliance perspective. Additionally, learning how to turn complex technical documentation into clear and concise language that anyone can understand has proven to be an invaluable skill, one that also helps me with my personal writing when I find myself being a little too verbose. My senior manager had my team read a book called On Writing Well by William Zinsser, in which the author writes, "Writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it that shouldn't be there." That is my mantra these days. 

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I did as many university internships as possible, and sought positions as a student worker that directly applied to my college major and long-term career goals. The beauty of school-sponsored opportunities is that those types of mentors value your long-term goals and simultaneously recognize that you first need to excel as a student before you can reach those bigger aspirations. It's a nourishing type of professional development, one that won't leave you drained or overwhelmed. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Be confident in your goals, but creative in how to achieve them. When applying for jobs, consider the types of companies that need writers and editors, but aren't typically the first employers that come to mind, such as hospitals or tech companies. As an undergrad, I never imagined myself working in financial services, but I've completed some of my most important and rewarding work as a writer and editor in this industry. 

Lastly, it's never your job to tell yourself no. If you see an opportunity that excites you, even if you think it's a long shot, you owe it to yourself to pursue it. Your knowledge, capabilities, and experience—and the positive ways in which others perceive those things—may surprise you, unlocking doors that you yourself may have left closed.

You can connect with Marissa on LinkedIn here and follow her blog here!


Posted on March 1, 2018 and filed under Writer, Interview, Interviews, Editor, Editing, Writing.

Megan Barnard: Editor

Name: Megan Barnard

Age: 24

College & Majors/Minors: Hollins University: English major with a concentration in creative writing. Double minors in communications and history. 

Current Location: Baltimore, MD

Current Form of Employment: Full-time editor at Angel Publishing

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I'm currently an editor at investment research firm, Angel Publishing. I primarily work for Energy and Capital where I write blog posts, PPC (pay-per-click) articles, marketing copy, and copyedit.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

I spent at least half of my senior year applying to writing/editorial jobs… And I found nothing. Job hunting was nearly a full-time job on its own. It was incredibly frustrating to see all these entry-level jobs that needed 1-2 years of experience. I ended up getting a job working customer service in a call center (which I had about 4 years of experience in) for a travel agency in Boston.

I spent about 9 months in the call center… and found that it was not for me. I had moved back to Maryland (where I’m from) at this point and telecommuted for work, but I desperately wanted out of customer service. I did anything I could to make myself stand out: I polished my LinkedIn, I contacted alumni from my university, and I applied to all jobs that possibly fit my experience.

I found the job posting for my current job on Craigslist. I applied immediately and got an email back that day, then had an interview and job offer within a week.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

It wasn’t a job per-se, but I wrote a Senior English Honors Thesis during my senior year of college. The thesis wasn’t required to graduate, but I found that the time and research I had to put into it (I was writing a novel), along with the hours of actual writing and one-on-one meetings with my thesis advisor were vital for developing my writing skills. It also gave me the opportunity to work on my writing daily, and helped me realize that writing and editing was actually something I loved to do each day. It confirmed that I was in the right field of study.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I wrote my Senior English Honors Thesis. I created a resume and LinkedIn account, I kept my GPA high and became a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honors society. I also doubled minored in history and communications. History, because I loved the subject, and communications, because it pairs really well with an English degree and looks good on a resume. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Don’t give up. Don’t listen to the people who laugh when you tell them you’re getting your degree in English (those “you’ll be my next barista” jokes are obnoxious). English is a beautiful field of study, and you can succeed at it.

My top tips:

Create a LinkedIn account. It’s actually way more important than you might think during school. Make sure it looks professional, with your resume and a headshot, and then connect with people from your school, no matter how much you hate networking.

Network. I know, I hated this part too. I think half of us become an English major because we like working with words, not people, but networking is a vital part of the career world. The more comfortable you become with it now, the better it will be. It’s okay to be afraid, but do it anyway.

There are jobs in the field of English—but you have to look for them. Finance and IT are fields that always need writers and editors. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience in finance or IT, apply anyway. I was hired at my current position without knowing anything about the world of finance, but most editors would rather hire someone who knows how to write and teach them about their topics, rather than teach people how to write.

Apply to jobs you don’t technically have enough experience for. I’m not talking about jobs that need 10+ years of experience, I’m talking about the entry level ones that say 1-2. Here’s a secret: almost all job listings say that they want 1-2 years of experience, even if they’re actually looking for people who’ve just graduated. The worst thing that can happen is they say no.

I know a lot of English majors are interested in getting in the traditional book publishing field. I was too, but I didn’t have any information about how to get into those fields, and the career center at my school was not very helpful.

Since then I’ve learned some things. A lot of literary agencies look for interns. I mean a lot. I never had the chance to apply to them, but you can. Bookjobs.com has a lot of listings, but you should also go on the individual websites and look for internships. They say they don’t have any? Send your resume and cover letter anyway. After all, you’re offering free (most literary internships don’t pay) help, so what’s the worst that can happen? Some agencies and publishing houses even have remote internships that you could do while in school.

Lastly, the field of English is one of the most undervalued, but important fields we have today. There are very few jobs around where you don’t have to read and write well, and while it might not be your dream job, you can find a job using the skills you learned in school. Don’t give up. 

To learn more about Megan and her writing, visit www.englishmajorswithjobs.com. You can also follow Megan on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.


Posted on July 15, 2017 and filed under Editing, Editor, Publishing.

Daniel Brount: Page Designer & Copy Editor

Name: Daniel Brount

Age: 22

College & Majors/Minors: Ball State University, B.A. in English (concentration: Creative Writing) with a minor in Professional Writing & Emerging Media

Current Location: Austin, Texas

Current Form of Employment: Page Designer & Copy Editor

Where do you work and what is your current position?

Currently I work as a features page designer and copy editor at Gatehouse Media's Center for News and Design. Gatehouse is a newspaper publisher that owns a couple hundred different publications across the U.S. At the Center for News and Design in Austin, Texas, we design for those publications, as well as a some other papers not owned by the company. In my position, I primarily design the features sections (food, entertainment, religion, health, home and garden, etc.) for a variety of papers. When needed, I also proof pages before we send them out for publication.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

My position at the Center for News and Design is my first out of college, but I did work several part-time jobs and internships during college. These ranged from a variety of positions on the university newspaper, The Ball State Daily News, to tutoring at the Writing Center to doing a public relations internship in the Ball State English Department. I found those positions through initially volunteering at the newspaper and by doing my best to be involved in the English Department.

But before I got my job at Gatehouse, I spent a few months searching. My initial plan was to get a job in book publishing in New York City. After a few months of applying to every position in NYC that caught my interested and hearing very little back, I decided I needed to do some rethinking. Book publishing remains a goal for me down the road, but I realized it was important to expand my search for the time being. I took a step back and looked at my other skills. I asked myself, what else could I do? What else am I qualified for? Journalism and design were the first things that popped into my head. So I expanded my search. Instead of just looking for book jobs in NYC, I looked for book jobs, editing jobs, design jobs, and journalism jobs nationwide. A few days into this search, I found a listing for a Page Designer & Copy Editor position at Gatehouse on Indeed.com. I didn't feel like I was quite qualified enough to work in professional newspaper design, but I gave it a shot. Less than a week after applying for the position, I started making plans to move from my family's home in Wheeling, Illinois, down to Austin, Texas.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

By far the most important writing-related position I've had is actually a tie between two internships. During the fall semester of my senior year at Ball State, I moved to NYC as part of the New York Arts Program. The NYAP gives students in participating Midwestern liberal arts colleges the opportunity to spend a semester doing arts internships in NYC. My internships were at sci-fi/fantasy publisher DAW Books, an imprint at Penguin Random House, and at literary agency The Rights Factory. These internships gave me hands-on experience in the book publishing industry. I read submitted manuscripts. I wrote reader's reports and title information sheets and query letters. I learned about contracts. I did social media. I edited cover copy and client manuscripts and book proposals. I created book pitches and submissions lists. I compiled reviews and publicity information about various books. I communicated with literary agents and editors and authors and other publishing professionals.

These positions gave me an inside look on the book publishing industry and proved to me that it's an industry I will always pursue. Throughout the semester, I improved as a reader, writer, and editor, gained a massive list of new skills, and made numerous fantastic connections. And, of course, I got to spend an incredible semester exploring NYC.

And while I'm not working in book publishing right now, those skills that I learned still apply in various ways, and they are skills I'll retain for jobs down the road.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I did absolutely every single thing I could in college. I didn't give myself a moment to rest. If I was bored for a second, I decided that meant I needed to try doing something new. College isn't just about taking classes. It's about taking chances. People spend so much time saying that an English major is useless, but I found that even in college, I had an endless amount of options. There were too many internships for me to take, too many jobs for me to work, too many activities for me to join. So I got involved in as many as I was able to. Every single extra activity I did or job I worked opened up a new skill set, expanding the scope of opportunity for me in post-grad life. Limiting myself would only hurt me later on, so I knew I had to prove to myself that I have no limits whatsoever.

The most influential things I did in college: the student newspaper, English Department involvement, and the NYAP.

Working for The Ball State Daily News allowed me to expand my skills with a lot of in-depth, varied work. I wrote articles, edited stories, designed pages, took photos, and managed an entire staff. If it wasn't for this, there's no doubt that I wouldn't have been hired at my current company. But I also had the opportunity to use everything I learned in my English classes and apply those things in a new context. I could use my lessons in storytelling when writing articles, taking photos, and designing a page. Different skills can be applied in ways you'd never think of at first. Designing a newspaper page is all about telling the story of the content on the page, so why not use lessons learned in creative writing classes?

My involvement within the English Department was also integral to developing my skills. Among other roles, I had my public relations internship, my writing center tutor position, positions on literary magazine The Broken Plate and academic research journal The Digital Literature Review. And while all these did a lot to add to my experience and teach me new things, it was being so close to the department that did the most for me. I think students underestimate how many opportunities their department can provide for them. The professors and staff members that I grew close with encouraged me and educated me in so many ways both inside and outside the classroom. Their support is an essential element of my success. Do as much as you can for your department and get as involved as you can, and you'll be amazed with how much you'll get in return.

And with the NYAP, I explained how much that did for me before. But I should mention that one of my professors in the English Department is Ball State's liaison for NYAP. If I hadn't worked with her so closely through my department involvement, I may not have been part of NYAP.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Never sell yourself short. You have so many skills that you can apply in so many different ways. Be creative. Try something new. Take your assets and use them to overcome your weaknesses. Jump for every opportunity that comes your way. Never think, "I'm not good enough for this." It's always worth it to give your best shot.

Find a community. My involvement in the English Department gave me a close community of other English majors to keep in touch with and learn from. My time in NYAP gave me a community in NYC, within the book publishing industry. Make as many connections as you can. View those connections as more than just a resource. They're part of your community. Find ways to help and support them, and they'll do the same. The English major community is massive, and we can all help each other.

Find a cause. When I returned to school after NYAP, I missed the closeness I had with the book publishing industry. So I decided to start a book blog (now also a TV blog). This not only helped me keep consistent with my reading and writing, but it also lets me feel like I'm still linked to book publishing. I'm supporting literature that I believe in, and I'm keeping up with what's happening with books. But it also gave me a cause. I quickly became involved in the #DiverseBookBloggers movement on Twitter. There's a huge community pushing for more diverse books and more diverse characters. As a result, I decided to focus my blog on diverse books. Supporting diversity is now a cause that I believe in and will stick with throughout my career. Another goal of mine is to be an author; now my writing is more focused on diverse characters and stories than it ever was. Having a cause gives my work purpose, and it also sets me apart from the crowd. If you have a cause to be passionate about, it'll fuel your work. It's invigorating. It pushes you to work even harder.

Do more than just work. Outside my job, I also have my creative writing, my blog, my freelance projects, and so much more. Having multiple commitments and outlets expands my creativity and improves my work in whatever I'm doing. Work shouldn't be the only way you use your degree. It's fun and it's useful to give yourself some hobbies and some side projects.

Make yourself a brand. In one of my classes at Ball State, we designed logos and other branding materials for ourselves. My website, resume, letterhead, and other materials all use my logo and a specific design style. This gives me a clean and professional representation, and it makes my work recognizable.

Pick your passion, but don't let that limit your scope. Book publishing is where my passion lies, and it's where I want to work in the future. It's one of my biggest goals (setting goals is another important thing to do). But just because that's what I want, it doesn't mean it's the only thing I can do. If you widen your scope, you can develop your skills in new ways and explore new industries. You might find that you love other areas of work too. Maybe you'll find that you love to work in public relations or design or journalism or marketing (just a few things that English majors can do). It's important to recognize that your experiences in all these different areas can overlap. You can use your skills at other jobs to make yourself standout. Be versatile. Be more than one thing. This goes back to never limiting yourself. You are more than your job. You are more than your degree (even if English is a wonderful degree to have).

To learn more about Daniel, visit his site at danielbrount.com. You can also follow his blog 100 Story Reviews, or connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.


Posted on March 18, 2017 and filed under Editor.

Cassie Armstrong: Freelance Editor

Name: Cassie Armstrong

Age:

College & Majors/Minors: BA in English literature with a minor in history; MA in English with an emphasis in folklore

Current Location: Colorado Springs

Current Form of Employment: Freelance editor who owns her own business

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I'm the owner of MorningStar Editing LLC. I'm an editor.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

My first job out of college was a cashier in a college bookstore. My husband and I had moved to Flagstaff so he could go to grad school at Northern Arizona University. I saw a notice that said "now hiring" and applied to be one of the cashiers. Eleven years ago I quit teaching to be available to take care of my infant grandson. After taking care of him for a few years I decided I needed something else to do in my "spare" time. I had been a college English teacher and thought that I could be an editor. I acted on that thought and picked up the phone and called a few local publishers. From there, I started my freelance editing business. I love working with words and can't imagine doing anything else.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

Teaching. I was a substitute teacher, an adjunct for three community colleges in three different states, a staff reporter for a business journal, and a university college English teacher who taught freshman comp and research to sophomore English students. Writing has always been an important part of my career.

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

While I was in college, I only wanted to be a teacher. That was my focus and goal. But I didn't take education classes. Instead, I took classes in ethnic studies, ethnic literature, and folklore even before those classes were cool. Those classes instilled in me a love of different cultures. They also helped me appreciate differences. This has been invaluable for every job I've had since college. This also comes in handy when I edit cookbooks, craft books, or other types of nonfiction and fiction.

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

Don't listen when your family asks you what you're going to do with a degree in English after you graduate. Appreciate your communication skills and your ability to analyze. Think about your interests and abilities. Find something you love and pursue it.

To learn more about Morningstar Editing, visit www.morningstarediting.com. You can also follow Morningstar Editing on Facebook, connect with Cassie on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter


Posted on March 11, 2017 and filed under Editor, Editing, Interview, Interviews.

Lericka “Elle” Bryant-Henry: Business Owner, Writer, & English Tutor

Name: Lericka “Elle” Bryant-Henry

Age: 35

College & Majors/Minors: Southern New Hampshire University, B.A. English Literature and Creative Writing with a concentration in Non-fiction writing/ M.A. in English and Creative Writing 

Current Location: Laureldale, PA

Current Form of Employment: Business owner, Writer, and English Tutor. For published works, I’m professionally known by my pseudonym Elle Henry.  

Where do you work and what is your current position?

Currently, I’m juggling many roles! I’m a full-time writer working on my fourth book, I’m a blogger for a local newspaper, and I recently opened an editing service assisting new and established self-published authors with editing and proofreading help named Tres Chic Edits.

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different). 

I saw my purpose in life, and it was writing. I left a very lucrative government job to focus on school and writing full-time. Everyone thought I was insane. But I wasn’t happy in that civil service position and it was reflecting negativity in my personal life. For those who know me well they will tell you that I eat, sleep, dream, and breathe the written word. I love writing so much; I'm working on my second English Literature degree. My life was stagnant before I joined the English major community. One day I woke up looking down two different paths… (paraphrasing Robert Frost, roll with me). 

I needed a change, but I didn’t know which way I wanted to go. I’ve always carried a journal. I was always encouraged to write; however, creatively I was still silent. Determined, I persevered by believing in myself—I finished my B.A. in English and Creative Writing and my first book of poetry and stories Pieces of Me. I could have chosen the easier route continuing to work for the government with everything handed to me. Instead, I chose the road less traveled, working hard for a career I was passionate about only to flourish. I haven't stopped writing since dedicating myself to this dream full-time. I love the written word so much that it's my desire to one day influence young girls to write creatively. I was always the girl with glasses who read books, now look at me… the girl with glasses who writes books!

After leaving my life as a civil servant, I started my writing career as a book reviewer and blogger on my Avid Writer Elle site. This site is also dedicated to my life as writer struggling to publish and find autonomy in this huge literary community. From there, I heard about a blogging community called Hype Orlando, a subsidiary of the Orlando Sentinel in Orlando, Florida. I submitted my proposal for “Candidly Elle,” a blog describing not only my life as a writer, but my candid take on popular culture and current events.

Deciding to take my English education and focus on editing was a chance I’ve battled back and forth with for a while. I remember when I first started out—no one really wanted to provide any insight on self-publishing to an English major. I felt the community was a little exclusive, and they looked down on those who pursued a higher education in English or Creative Writing. Deciding to flip that, I opened Tres Chic Edits, and now I not only provide editing services, but I also provide writing consultations to those struggling to find their footing in the publishing world. 

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

In my pre-English major position, I was an Executive Assistant at two Naval hospitals. This position required a lot of attention to detail because I was the voice for all outgoing correspondence and evaluations for military and civilian personnel. It was a very daunting position because I was the assistant to a department head that housed 500+ people. Having a strong background in English was very important. I incorporate that attention to detail into my current writing and editing jobs. 

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I didn’t participate in any internships (which I now regret) due to being a military spouse with a deployed husband at the time. So, I definitely encourage internships—they help you transition easier into your chosen profession. 

I did find a few likeminded individuals who encouraged my writing. We formed a group holding weekly meetings to catch up on school topics, while working on writing prompts in the group to further enhance our writing. This not only helped in terms of preparing me for certain creative writing courses; I was more exposed to constructive criticism of my work. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

As English majors, we are already subjected to the “you can’t find a job in that major…” line. I believe as a writer, we tend to be the most judgmental, harboring the most uncertainty when it comes to our work. There’s a quote I put in my first book, Pieces of Me, specifically to inspire writers with self-doubt. “Just grab a pen and write, don’t stress about the critics. When it’s all said and done someone will love it.” The same could be applied to an English major pursuing a different profession outside of writing. Believe enough in yourself to follow your dreams, and if you stay true to that motto, everything else in life will fall into place. 

You can find Lericka “Elle” Bryant-Henry on AuthorElleHenry.com, on HyperOrlando.com, and on Facebook here and here


Posted on August 22, 2016 and filed under Editing, Editor, Interviews, Interview.

Samantha Enslen: President & Owner of Dragonfly Editorial

Name: Samantha Enslen

Age: 45-ish

College & Majors/Minors: Double major, English and Women's Studies

Current Location: Tipp City, Ohio

Current Form of Employment: President and Owner, Dragonfly Editorial

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I run Dragonfly Editorial. We're an agency that focuses on content strategy, writing, and editing. Writing and editing—those are pretty straightforward. Content strategy is more complex. It's about deciding what to write, how to write it, and who to write to—before you ever put pen to paper. 

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I found my first words-related role working in a coffee house: Jolt N' Bolt, on 18th Street in northwest DC. One of my customers owned a publishing house nearby. After a few months of making him lattes, I screwed up my courage and asked if he needed an intern. He probably didn't, but he let me come in every afternoon anyway and (literally) work in the mailroom. I took customer orders, packed up books, and shipped them out. This was in the days before Amazon. 

One of the editors must have felt sorry for me, because one day she gave me their holiday catalog to proofread. I'm sure it had already been proofed, and she gave it to me just to be nice. But I found some mistakes. The next day, she came right up to me as soon as I arrived and said, "This is what you need to do. You need to be a copyeditor." That's how I discovered my profession.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

I don't know about the most important, but the most fun writing-related job I've had is with Grammar Girl. I write about the origin of various idioms, like "spick and span," or "off the cuff." 

Writing has always been a slog for me. I can do it, and I think I do it well, but I often find it onerous and stress-inducing. Writing these short posts has helped me experience writing for the first time as an exploration, rather than a chore. 

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I did very little other than study hard and take my work seriously. I think that's your job in college. Screw partying. You need to suck up every ounce of learning you can. 

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

An English degree should teach you to ask questions, to read, to research, to synthesize information—and then to express what you've learned clearly, in writing. If you can do that, you'll be an asset in any workplace.  

So I guess my advice is to not worry about the "marketability" of an English degree. Rather, trust that it will teach you to think deeply and write clearly. Those skills will serve you in the long run, no matter what industry you land in.

 Samantha's bookshelf

Samantha's bookshelf

Check out Dragonfly Editorial HERE, and follow them on Twitter


Posted on June 18, 2016 and filed under Content Marketing, Editing, Editor, Interviews, Interview.

Kate Marchewka: Early Elementary Teacher-Librarian

Name: Kate Marchewka

Age: 33

College & Majors/Minors: University of Wisconsin-Madison | Major: English Literature | Minor: Women's Studies and LGBT Studies || Grad degree: University of Washington, Masters in Library & Information Science

Current Location: Seattle, WA

Current Form of Employment: Part-time Early Elementary Teacher-Librarian

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I'm in my second year as the early elementary teacher-librarian at St. Thomas School, a private PreK-8th grade school in Medina, WA. I get to read picture books, perform felt board stories complete with voices, and sing songs with small children three days a week, and home with my son the other days. It's the best. Also, I get to ply my older kids with stickers and candy to check out books (it works...mwah ha).

Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).

I found my first job through some random web searching and it (very luckily) ended up being a really great job. I had just moved to San Francisco and was fresh out of college and somehow ended up working for a small woman-owned brand agency, where I learned a ton in a short period of time. It was one of the first places where I learned that being highly specific with words and being a detail-oriented person could make a hugely positive impact on a project.

My current job as a teacher-librarian was also a stroke of luck; I interned here during graduate school and found the posting on our department's online job board. It had been listed by a former student, and was exactly what I was looking for. Turned out that the part-time librarian was leaving at the end of the summer after I'd graduated from my program, so I interviewed and had that extra leg-up to get the job.

What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?

For almost three years, I worked first full-time and then part-time for an online flash sale retailer as a copy editor. I was the first editor officially hired into the role, and although it was a crazy pace and workload, I found that I loved the nitpicky work of editing and immensely enjoyed getting to work with writers on their writing, even if it was about tutus and eco-friendly cleaning tools. I kind of fibbed my way through the interview question, "Do you know AP?", saying, "Yes, obviously," while furiously buying up every book on the style and studying them at home after work. Between the studying and the breakneck pace of the job, I picked up skills to back up my claim pretty quickly. Occasionally, if a writer couldn't quite hit the mark or we were short staffed, I'd get to write copy myself, which was also a ton of fun and a fantastic learning experience. I'd never done that kind of writing before—researching brands to write a brand story, and making up character-limited descriptions for products on the site that millions of people were reading.

“I think that just being a reader makes you inherently better at communicating in multiple forms—written and verbal.”

What did you do in college to prepare for your post-grad life?

I wasn't the person who was constantly writing on my own for fun, but I have always been a reader with a 'to-read' list 18 miles long, reading-a-book-while-walking-down-the-street kind of thing. So I think that just being a reader makes you inherently better at communicating in multiple forms—written and verbal. It certainly helped in my editing career. And keeping up with the book world has absolutely helped in my career as a librarian. Even though it can be tough to read for fun while being bogged down with undergrad classes, I think it's important to sneak a few in where you can!

Lastly, taking writing classes where your work is torn apart by a pack of hungry undergrads is very good practice for receiving constructive feedback of any sort, and for giving it to others later on down the road. =)

What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?

I'd say to not let yourself get pigeon holed into the "Oh, an English degree. What are you going to do, teach?" schpiel most will offer. Don't listen to those people, they don't know what they're talking about or how much you have on offer. Try to think about the skills you have and how the things you're passionate about can translate into real work/jobs. I have been a brand manager, a customer service agent, done sales and operations management, and been a copy editor, and having strong writing, editing and communication skills played heavily into every one of those jobs. I didn't ever even think about becoming a librarian until I was in my late twenties, and it was a total light bulb moment and has turned out to be a dream career for me.

You can check out Kate's photography website here, and read her blog here


Posted on April 4, 2016 and filed under Editor, Editing, Librarian, Library Science, Teaching.