My Journey to Editing

by Laura Dangerfield
(San Jose, CA)

Although I have a degree in biology, health issues prevented me from working in that field. So, like many others, I relied on doing the kind of work that fell within my constraints just to pay the bills. Over the years, I have had a variety of job titles in both the administrative and sales fields. However, within those jobs, I began to notice an underlying theme—I greatly enjoyed opportunities where I was able to proofread text or take a look at grammar and punctuation to help make correspondence clear. Regardless of my job title, I was always excited by the opportunity to “edit” and I grabbed every chance I could to do it. But often it wasn’t the main part of my job and had to be put aside for other tasks.

I decided to take control of my work schedule and focus on work that excited me. Becoming a freelance copyeditor and proofreader was a perfect fit, but hardly an effortless transition. I had to take several classes in copyediting and proofreading as well as join professional associations to learn about the fine points of the field and the market for freelancers in it. One year later, I am still taking classes and still learning. I probably always will to keep my skills sharp.

Career overhaul is not the easiest thing to do, but it’s not impossible either. I face certain challenges: how to find clients, how to showcase my skills, how to charge a fair price for my services, how to market myself, and so on. And then there are the naysayers who insist that “if you do not get a regular, set paycheck, then it’s not a real job” or, my favorite, “no one does what they like for a living.”

Well, everybody has an opinion; the one that really matters is my own. I don’t listen to the naysayers. I believe that you can find what you enjoy doing and get paid to do it too. This is my life and my choice. I choose to be happy doing what I like and refuse to let the challenges stop me. My decision has changed my life and put work on my terms. I’m meeting new people and learning new things, and I love it all.

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