Here is an excerpt of an interview I had with local literary editor Alison Dickson. Find the rest at bonzuko.com. ~Prof. Jenn
5 Questions: Allison M. Dickson Interviewer: Jenn Zuko Boughn
1) How did you get into the editing gig? Do you like it? How does it compare to being a writer?
It really started in college, when I was always the go-to girl in peer editing groups in various writing classes. The act of editing has always come very naturally to me. Having an “ear” for another person’s voice is part of it, but I truly enjoy seeking out errors and looking for compelling ways to express something more visually. After college, I started doing beta reading for some writer friends and one of them was so impressed and suggested that I should consider looking for ways to get paid to do it. That stuck with me. Since I was a stay-at-home mom in need of additional income, and I loved doing it, I figured why not give it a go? I started researching the freelance editing market, getting a feel for the services other companies offered, as well as thinking of ways I could set myself apart from the pack. Eventually, Allison Edits was born. The little company has undergone some adjustments since its inception, and there have been some moments when I’ve asked myself what the heck I’ve gotten myself into, but overall, I have found it to be rewarding. Overall, I bill myself as a “boutique” service. I don’t have a staff or a fancy uploader on my site. Instead, what you get is me devoting as much time and effort as possible into delivering the best edit for your work and making you feel more confident as you wade through the process of getting published. It’s a jungle out there.
Unfortunately, editing takes time away from my writing. I find that when I’m in the course of a hard edit, I’m devoting most of my creative energies to the client. And that’s fine. But I’ve never been able to edit and write in tandem. However, I have found that editing someone else’s work has often given me the inspiration or energy to tackle my own projects again after I’ve finished. And when I do, I find that I write better. I recommend all writers network with other folks in the craft so that they have the opportunity to beta read and edit other writing, even free of charge. It’s easier to see shortcomings in other people’s work than it is your own, and so it’s a priceless educational experience in what not to do.