As the Managing Editor here at Many Kind Regards, I get to see behind the scenes of running a publication. . My job includes content editing, communicating with writers, uploading and publishing final pieces, and many other odds and ends. While I have been a writer for quite some time and for a number of publications, this is my first official time in an editor’s chair and as such, it has been a non-stop learning experience.
I know, it sounds cliché and you’ve heard it in every job, by every motivational speaker, and need it listed on every resume – but it’s true. It’s not just being able to communicate effectively; I’ve learned from editing how to communicate smart. In my days as an interview writer, I learned how to structure questions and talk to different people to get them to open up and share their story with me. That skill has been polished immensely by editing. When you’re editing someone’s work, you’re taking their creation – their baby and a piece of themselves – and critiquing it. I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories of editors who are jerks and will just slam a piece and send it back to the writer but that’s not my style. Fortunately for me, that’s not MKR’s style either. Here at MKR, we work hard to build our writers, to encourage their strengths, and fortify their writing skills. We love seeing our writers grow. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is working with writers on their pieces, communicating with them, and finding the best way together to get their message across.
I’ve got to say; I’m blessed to have an amazing editorial team. As Editor-In-Chief, Katie Foley has been my go-to. When I have a question, I’m struggling with a piece, or I just need advice, Katie is the first person I contact. She is quick witted, smart, and a great leader. Samantha Dean, our Associate Editor, is my right hand gal. I never knew editing could be such a teamwork ordeal, but working with Samantha has made this job what it is. We have a “tag team” style to work through our pieces, and without having her right there with me to bounce ideas off of, I would be left grasping at straws often. She is also a whiz with grammar and mechanics and can polish any sentence into perfection. None of this would be complete without Many Kind Regards Creator Erin Whitehead. I joke and call her the big boss, but really, she’s our biggest cheerleader. Erin truly loves to see her team succeed. She makes us think and reach outside of our comfort zones. She applauds our strengths and encourages our growth, making us dig deep to battle our weaknesses. I have learned that teamwork is the greatest asset to an editor, and it is the entire editorial team that makes this job what it is.
It’s Not All About Me
As an editor, one of the toughest lessons I’ve learned is it’s not all about me. As a writer, it is. It’s about my thoughts, my story, and my work. When I edit, it’s about the writer. Just because I don’t like a topic or agree with a viewpoint doesn’t mean it isn’t getting published. I have learned how to work objectively, focusing strictly on the writing and the message the writer wants to get across. Even if I want a different message sent, I can’t change the article to do that. That’s when I’d have to put my writer hat back on and write a reply. As an editor, my job is to make sure that what each writer wants to say is said clearly, effectively, and in all hopes, beautifully. My own opinions go on the backburner to make sure our writers get the best editing possible.
Not only content and copy editing, but formatting, scheduling, choosing articles that relate to it - that's all part of editing.
Editors Don’t Get Enough Credit
I seriously did not realize how much work editors do. While I’ve known the amounts of work, love, and heartache that goes into writing and creating something out of nothing, I never realized that equal amounts are poured into editing. Often when I write, I just get my ideas out, polish it up so it makes sense to me, and send it on its way. When it’s published, it rocks and I feel accomplished. I never really thought of that middle step, when someone else has to look at it and make it ready for an audience. Not only content and copy editing, but formatting, scheduling, choosing articles that relate to it - that's all part of editing. Every little piece is thought out and that’s the behind the scenes stuff that no one bats an eye at. No one, that is, but an editor, who personally knows the true puzzle of piecing together a publication.
One of the biggest struggles I’ve come across during my time as Managing Editor is the fight with technology. Unfortunately, unlike people, technology cannot be talked to or reasoned with. I can’t tell our platform why it would be better if it would just do it this way. I also can’t tell it it’s a jerk and it’s fired. While we have an amazing platform and our website is beautiful, there are times when I’ve wanted to throw my laptop because it just isn’t doing what I want it to. Yes, more often than not, those times are my fault, but still if it would just do what I say… It’s funny though, when you think of editing, you think of working with the words and the writers, you don’t really think about how much time and effort is put into the actual presentation. The uploading and formatting, the placing links, the many times I’ve reloaded to see a change. But, each day, I learn a little more. I learn patience and perseverance to keep trying until it looks just right. I learn the art of double-checking everything to ensure that what I’ve got in my version is the same that everyone sees. And I learn that sometimes, you just have to walk away from the screen because replacing my Macbook is not an option.
Timing Is Everything
From scheduling articles to meeting my own deadlines, staying on a time schedule is key. Running the right pieces at the right time is a fine art that I am still learning. How long after something is news can a reply be posted, how soon is “too soon,” and when to just let a topic lay are all a science that an online editor needs to perfect. I am also known as an ultimate procrastinator and I will admit that’s gotten me in a sticky spot a time or two. When I went on vacation and didn’t have wifi (a place with no wifi – unheard of!) I had to rely on my team to do my job. I couldn’t apologize enough for slacking and not being ahead of the schedule. Thankfully, they were on the ball (unlike me) and everything went without a hitch. But had they not been available, my little boo-boo could have been a major mess up. Staying ahead of the schedule and putting my procrastinating ways behind me is a battle I am determined to win.
It’s So Much Fun
While it can be hard work, and make my brain ache sometimes, my job is incredibly fun. There is a puzzle to editing that keeps my brain entertained and really brings me a sense of accomplishment. Luckily, my partner is crime, Samantha, shares a similar silly sense of humor as myself, and we giggle away while we work. I find myself looking forward to sitting down and working through a piece, and even more so to working with the writers. When a writer tells me I’ve helped them really say what they were thinking (or when they say it’s so good they could just kiss me!), I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment not only for myself, but also for my team, for our writer, and for what we’re doing as a whole. To say I love my job would be an understatement.
Many Kind Regards,
Writing is all about learning. Read what Jeanette learned about her own writing style, and how it can help you as a writer, here
Original image credit: Nic McPhee Flickr