Editing books always sounded really exciting to me when I was a kid. I pictured myself going to my job at a publishing house in a glamorous high-rise office building, wearing clothes that make me look like Anna Wintour’s kid sister and rubbing elbows with famous bestselling authors. It was a naive fantasy, I admit, fueled by Hollywood’s vision of what working in creative media is like. And for the most part, I was wrong—my glamorous office is my warm, colorful little studio in my home. My clothes are more Target than Tadashi Shoji. The bestselling authors are on my shelves, but not in my life.
But there is one critical detail I didn’t get wrong in that childhood fantasy. I get to read books, and essentially get paid for it. Granted, I read them as I’m working hard to make them better, using the expertise I’ve built up over years of experience, but I still get to absorb these great stories and call it a job. That’s like every fantasy I had about being an adult coming true.
Editing isn’t easy, that much is true. Some people seem to think that both writing and editing are such easy jobs that they can use them as their “fallback” when a “real” job isn’t making itself available. That makes me sad, because I know first-hand how hard writers and editors work, not just to complete their books or projects, but to get to the point where they have regular work in the first place. It’s a competitive market, and that makes it hard to be seen sometimes. But I am proud of the hard work and perseverance I’ve needed to succeed as an editor, and I wouldn’t trade my job for a thousand easy jobs, even when I’m going cross-eyed from staring at the computer screen too long.
Because I get to read books. That’s my favorite part of being an editor, and it always will be.