Editing as avocation

You hear writers talk about how they could never NOT write. This is how I feel about editing. When I was working at bookstores, I was the one people went to to make sure that the staff recs were grammatically correct. My friends gave me papers to read in college to make sure that everything read OK.

My love of editing comes, in part, from my love of writing. I want other people to write well. I want them not to make stupid errors. I want to save them from themselves.

Once at the end of a long, ultimately dysfunctional roommate situation, I sat down at the dining room table to get some work done. My roommate’s resume was sitting in front of me. I saw five things I could do in six seconds to make it better. “Do you mind if I look at your resume?” I asked carefully. “By all means,” my roommate said. We could hardly talk to each other without making each other mad at that point, but I edited the fuck out of her resume.

“Would you look at my resume?” another friend asked. How could I not? It’s one of the things I am good at. I am not a person who loves employment. I’d rather be writing or running a little po-biz. So I feel lucky to have found editing and double-lucky that I can work at home.

Even when I’m editing references, groaning at misplaced apostrophes in menus, and criticizing line breaks in advertisements on public transportation.

What can’t you resist?


7 responses to “Editing as avocation

  1. Did you hear this? I thought of you the whole time and imagined Ms. Einhorn’s voice as yours.

    I can’t resist parenting other people’s kids. It’s so obnoxious.

  2. I, too, am a fixer. I started young. If my grandmother used a double-negative in a sentence I was right there correcting her. You know she loved that !!

    I remember walking a fine line with my kids’ school papers, especially once they were in college. I’d fix, sure, but I’d also hold back and ask them questions instead. This took infinitely longer than doing it myself, but it was worth it even if it killed me.

    That said, the thing that drives me the most crazy: excessive and perpetual tardiness. Grrrrrrrrrr.

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