Editing other people’s writing! My new career?


I have set myself up as a copy-editor, general editor and ghost-writer. This is in addition to my part-time (at present)work as a private English tutor – and, of course, my own creative writing.

I enjoy all three – but today I am going to concentrate on the first!

Over my thirty years as an English teacher, I must have marked thousands of exercise books and essays written on A4 paper.

Although the sheer volume of books and papers to correct was challenging to say the least, I always loved the actual process of marking a child’s piece of writing – and, though I say it myself, I was excellent at it: Thorough, neat, extremely knowledgeable and often funny, the last of those taking away any sting which my need to use red pen so prolifically might bring to the child’s mind. I also aimed to increase confidence whenever, and wherever, I could – so, even if an essay was technically faulty and careless, I tried to find some merit in it for the young person to build upon.

Three years ago, I did my first paid editing job; on the weekend, my second. Both were for friends and fellow writers, though I will be equally happy to provide this service for people I do not know personally.

That first job involved editing a long and complex series of lessons – and it was absolutely fascinating, such an eye-opener. Although my job was to concentrate upon the writing itself (and to make suggestions and corrections in the realms of spelling, punctuation, grammar, use of words and so on), I also read the content (of course) and learned a huge amount about the subjects being described. I loved the challenge of the whole thing; it gave me great satisfaction.

My most recent job involved editing a book of short stories – and again gave me huge satisfaction: It was great to read the individual pieces, and lovely to be using my skills to suggest ways of making them even better.

Many people have a natural love of writing. I am, as you know, one of them. But some people feel constrained, or embarrassed, by low academic qualifications (as if they truly said anything about our creativity!) and/or not very good standard of English in the technical sense.

I am, and always have been, extremely good technically. I loved punctuation from an early age (I know, I know; I need to get out more!) and, thanks to my mother, was an instinctive speller. I learned quickly to relish the minutiae of grammar, of expression; I thrilled to the Parts of Speech and hoarded examples, adding to them regularly, delighting in their patterns and rules and exceptions. I have read voraciously all my life.

So now I am offering my skills to a wider audience.

Dissertations? Technical books? Creative essays? Novels? Short Stories?

Yes, I can apply my editing skills to all of those – and more.

So if you know that what you have written is brilliant in terms of content – but, perhaps, a little inaccurate as far as punctuation and spelling is concerned – I’m your woman, as the saying goes!

I am efficient, thorough, know what I am doing – and my rates, which are in line with those suggested by the NUJ Freelancers’ Guide, are very reasonable.

In terms of my qualifications, I have a BA (hons) Degree in English Literature, a PGCE certificate (English) and three decades of teaching, which included many hours of private tuition. As an experienced writer myself, I am able to offer a unique service!

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13 thoughts on “Editing other people’s writing! My new career?

  1. Julie

    A quick thought.
    Reading your book ‘ The Lyre of Logres’, I am struck by the amount of excellent material there is in this book which can be sent to women magazines. For instance PUNCH would interest a woman magazine ‘s editor. Also, ‘Panic and the Sun God’ could interest a magazine with an interest in psychology. It is a beautiful piece of writing and should grab some editor’s attention.

    I have not read the whole book yet but as I say, there is obviously a lot of interesting material in this book. Once a piece is published, you get more noticed etc…
    But make sure you do not give it away for free!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Copy-editing is an underappreciated skill. Despite my strengths in mathematics, I am quite keen about mechanics of writing.

    I was the copy-editor of my yearbook class in my last year of high school, which was a rewarding experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. alienorajt

      That doesn’t surprise me, Noah: You have always struck me as someone who takes a pride in his work – and is very mindful of accuracy. What fun! x

      Like

    1. alienorajt

      Thanks so much for this – a real boost to my spirits. I look forward enormously to reading your novel; I am sure it will be brilliant. xxxx

      Like

  3. Pingback: Editing other people’s writing! My new career? | Pauls Ponderings

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