Thursday, November 15, 2012


Throughout high school and college, I knew where my career was headed. In my AP Biology class, we demonstrated genetic crossover using Pop-Beads and drew poster-sized Punnet squares. I was hooked on genetics, and I followed that interest all the way to a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from Texas A&M University.

Ten years in the biotech industry helped me grow, learn, and change. It also burned me out. The things I loved about science became hard to notice amidst the corporate drudgery I faced daily. Discovery was replaced by profit, innovation by efficiency, and creativity by mistake-proofing.

It was then that I began to consider doing something different with my life. I had always had a passion for language. I've been a long-standing member of such online communities as LiveJournal's grammar_nazis and wrongworddammit. I own a well-worn copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style. Lynne Truss makes me giggle, and Grammar Girl has me loudly agreeing with her blog.

I was at my job in biotech one day, cringing at a poorly-written poster advertising upcoming events in the next month, wishing I could take a red pen to it, when I realized, I could do this. It wasn't just that I was bothered by the Totally random Capitalization the poster author had used, or their repeated abuse of apostrophe's. It was that I knew it could be so much more polished and professional with a tiny bit of work.

When I considered things more deeply, I realized I had been editing for years. I had long provided feedback to my writer friends on short stories, blog entries, professional articles, and the like, pointing out issues like "your hook is strong, but you don't really support it in the body of the article" or "this description would be much more effective if it happened earlier, to give the reader a better idea about who this guy is". I had regularly been complimented on my ability to help an author tidy up or enhance their work, and often asked, "Have you considered being an editor?".

So when the time came to consider something besides what I'd always done, editing was the natural choice.

I made the decision in July to try something new. I'm still working 40+ hours a week in biotech, but I've started spending more and more time editing. I'm working to build my client base into something that can support full-time work. And someday, I'll leave the corporate environment behind and strike out on my own.