How did I become a self-editing guru?
My grandmother graded the letters I wrote to her.
I'm not kidding. Way back when people communicated by sending letters to each other through the postal system, I often wrote to Monge (my nickname for her). She taught English and couldn't abide errors in writing, so she marked and graded the letters I wrote to her. I felt so proud the day I got my first A+. It set me on the road to self-editing.
I read the dictionary and encyclopedia for fun.
I fell in love with words and ideas at an early age and collected them the way some people collect postage stamps. My favorite word was the longest in the dictionary at the time: antidisestablishmentarianism. It's since been surpassed by pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Now I collect words on the internet, which is so much faster!
I viewed diagramming sentences as an exciting game.
The day my English teacher introduced our class to sentence diagramming, I knew I had met a delicious challenge with my name written all over it. Whenever our teacher called for volunteers, my hand popped up first, despite my introverted tendencies. It's been years since I diagrammed a sentence, but I still apply the principles I learned and enjoy sharing them with writers.
I consider reading as essential as eating (except for chocolate).
My earliest memories involve books. I spent many lovely summers checking out a huge stack of them from the library and devouring them on our front porch. I lost myself in the words and craved more. I'm still an avid reader, and exposure to a wide variety of genres has given me an eye for editing.
I chose counseling over a medical degree.
At the advanced age of twenty-seven, I enrolled in the university. Inspired by my grandfather, who had trained as a massage therapist because he couldn't afford medical school, I majored in pre-med along with psychology. By the time I graduated, I felt torn between the two. I chose mind over body and earned a master's degree in counseling and guidance. I didn't know then how much the study of the mind would inform and impact my work as an editor.
I discovered that self-employment suited me best.
My degree served me well in positions as an EAP counselor and career counselor. I loved helping people identify and reach their goals, but traditional employment stifled me. So I hung out my shingle as a career coach. Being self-employed gave me the freedom to experiment and explore my interests beyond counseling. I took on freelance writing gigs, created newsletters for entrepreneurs, and worked as the managing editor for a business magazine. I was no longer just earning a living but creating a word-based career that I loved.
Editing called to me.
When my husband and I moved to an acreage near a small town, another dream came true. Living in the country offered a new level of freedom to pursue my varied interests. I taught myself HTML and developed websites. I continued as a freelance writer, creating feature articles, newsletter pieces, and web content. I also shifted my editing focus to books. The common thread throughout every facet of my work involved communication. Everything I did utilized words, but I most enjoyed the transformational process of editing. Something about coming up with the right combination and sequence of words calls to me.
Editing transformed into Self-Editing
Helping writers achieve their dreams of becoming published authors gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction. One of my favorite aspects of editing books is watching my clients develop their self-editing skills during my work with them. Because I haven't developed the knack of going without sleep, I am limited by the number of books I can edit in a year. Offering self-editing courses allows me to remove the limitation of time so that I can work with many more writers.
I have a Self-Editing vision.
The ease with which digital publishing enables writers to become published authors presents an amazing opportunity! Anyone with a computer and access to the Internet can publish a book. Yet I believe with privilege comes responsibility. For writers, the privilege to publish on their own carries the responsibility of producing the best version of their work. However, hiring a professional editor may not be an option, especially for first-time writers. Through the process of Self-Editing, all writers can produce the best version of their work and give their readers a positive and meaningful experience. I envision the day when self-editing is considered as important as writing the first draft. My contribution to that vision is helping writers discover and activate their inner Self-Editor.
*Social Media Manager
*University career counselor
B.A. Psychology and Life Sciences
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
M.S. Guidance & Counseling
University of Nebraska at Omaha