Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A bit more contract editing

One of the things that haunted me as I was finishing up in my grad school lab was that not having somewhere to go would mean I am unemployed, and it seems like a slippery slope from unemployed to unemployable. Yes, any rational person would say that taking some time to get the first job out of college is pretty normal. But look around at this economy, I can't wait for something to just show up! I gotta work! This is what drove me to contract editing- I started out editing manuscripts, but that petered out after the event I was recruited for. A quick look on LinkedIn showed me that there were three major groups that are in constant need of editors:
Write Science Right
American Journal Experts

These companies tend to help improve the readability of manuscripts, especially coming from overseas. I liked this work, I got to learn about new things, and it didn't take long to get a feeling of accomplishment. But, it doesn't really feel like my own accomplishment. Telling someone about how you hate their writing is hardly a challenge. It's good to be able to make some quick cash, but even though I know there are those who do this work full time, I don't think I could.

But, it did open the door for me to do some text book editing at Words and Numbers, which I found via LinkedIn. (I'm under NDA with them as well, but I am pretty sure it's ok for me to say that much.) Although it is similar work, someone else wrote something, I try to help them improve it. There is an educational bent, which I feel better about (I want to use my science in service, not just to make money), and the added challenge of pedagogy. Those last 50 pages were all technically correct, but if I were going to teach it, what would I test on? If I were the student, what would I study?
This may allow me to do some writing with them in the future, which I am interested to try. For now, I don't feel like this is my calling, if for no other reason than I am constantly on the prowl for contracts, which feels conspicuously like being on the job market, which I don't love.


  1. I like editing (got into it with the high-school newspaper), but I think I understand how it could get old quickly if you aren't adding anything original. The textbook project sounds like it could be cool, if they listen to your input about how to organize it and what content to add.

    Would you like it better if you had a permanent job editing? Don't publishers (journals and books) have staff editors? Anyway, good luck with the jobs.

    -Adam R. (my google account isn't working for somereason)

  2. Thanks Adam! I do think I would like having a permanent position better, because being on the constant look out for contracts is worrisome and distracting. I should talk to some more people who do editing full time to see what they think of the work (I will connect with Lisa S.), but for now, it seems like a fair way to keep a hand in the game and keep me busy.