In two days, I’ll no longer be an editor working in business development for a multinational engineering and science consulting firm. I’ve tied most of my editing career to this company. I’m good at what I do as a solitary editor, and I have a satisfying number of internal clients who respect my expertise. I’m ready to leave this job, but I’m going to miss editing.
I love feeling out the pieces of a sentence, rearranging the puzzle until meaning pops. I love contemplating a paragraph, rephrasing jargon, stripping unnecessary words. I love finding the stronger verb under the crust of nominalization. I delight in typos. I have deep patience and high regard for writers working in a non-native language; I love sensing the syntax of a hidden language. I love the richness of technical terminology, the texture of geological descriptions. Heaven help me, I can read a hundred sexual innuendos in a simple geotechnical report. I find pleasure in finding dangling modifiers and un-dangling them.
I know that leaving active editing life doesn’t mean leaving the editing community. This aspect of me is not going to turn off or disappear. If anything, this change will allow me to explore my preferences and abilities as an editor. I’d like a project that gives me time for excellent, thorough editing instead of constant “good enough” editing. I want some pressure to push beyond my current skill level. I’d like the opportunity to work on a team with other editors. Modest, achievable ambitions.
In the meantime, I can apply my editing skills to my writing. A person can never be as clear-sighted or as ruthless on their own words as they can be on another’s, but it’ll get me far enough for now. My goal is to write something that I can pass on to a working editor who can push my writing further. I think I’m going to enjoy that.