Writing is a creative pursuit that can earn you an income for expressing yourself. Editing is a precise activity entailing control and imagination. The difference in requirements between writing and editing jobs is clearly definable: the writer must be aware of the editorial requirements for each project, and the editor must know what style conventions the publisher prefers. Editing requires a strict conformity to the rules, and writing demands originality. And yet, both the writer and editor have a common goal: to produce great writing people will enjoy reading. And both must keep this in mind, or the finished piece could fall short of expectations.
Creativity is an important part of all writing and editing jobs. Writers must express a given theme in a manner that speaks to a piece’s target audience. Meanwhile, editors must be aware of publishers’ requirements to ensure a finished piece fits the brief. As editors usually have the final word on a published work, they have the power to alter the article to fit their opinions and style. However, should editors’ standards and aims differ tremendously from writers’, both will have to spend a considerable amount of time rewriting. A publisher, therefore, has to ensure the writer and editor are both working under the same set of rules. Writing and editing jobs both require conformity to rules as well as creativity.
Both writers and editors are committed to making each piece publishable. Writing and editing jobs dovetail. However, these jobs only pay if the writer and editor understand each other. Thus, editors are usually selected for their experience in a particular genre, such as romance, poetry, technical papers, medical articles, or news stories. Usually, the writer must also specialize in a particular genre to get hired. Editors must understand each piece’s audience and mediate between the writer’s output and a sophisticated readership. Writing and editing jobs are only commercially viable if the end products sell, and that will only happen if the style and language of each published work are appropriate to its target readership.
Finding writing and editing jobs
As you forge a career in writing or editing, you should focus on one particular type of writing. Although you might find work writing in a range of genres, you stand a better chance of getting hired if you can exploit your natural style and specialize in the genre it leans toward. Most writing and editing jobs today are in the field of copywriting, rather than in the production of novels. If you don’t get the job you want, don’t automatically assume you missed out because your resume wasn’t strong enough. The hiring manager might have thought that your writing style and personality wouldn’t mesh with the writer or editor you would be working with in that position. Specializing in a particular field will help you find colleagues whose style you can complement.
Writing and editing jobs can be enjoyable, or they can be a real drag. As a general rule, writers and editors should always have a common outlook or worldview. Randomly paired writers and editors can fight, making it a struggle for them to produce anything coherent; writing and editing jobs are fraught with emotion if there’s no camaraderie or respect between those involved. Your career prospects depend on both your experience and your perceived image. If you don’t get a job you hoped for, don’t take it personally. There are so many opportunities out there; just move on and apply for another position. Sooner or later, you’ll land a job that suits both your experience and your style.