How the h*ck did I get here?

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

When I set out to write this blog back in 2017, I wanted to be open and authentic. I wanted to share all of the information that I had yearned to know over the years. Yet, after all this time, I still know for a fact that there remain big secrets in the editing industry. This secretive mode of operation leaves many earnest aspiring editors walking around with big question marks in front of their faces. Believe me, I know all too well the frustrations of being led into corners when it should be a simpler career path to choose.

While a crisis of self-esteem and its tag-along cousin, imposter feelings, has largely been the reason for my hiatus, what has kept me away recently was the development of my own success as an editor. Crazy, right? Why on earth would success keep me from sharing, or even just talking about my experience?

First off, the success was unexpected. For a long time I didn’t campaign very hard for jobs or to be known as an editor. Furthermore, I was afraid that if I said too much, shared the good news too far and wide, that it might somehow jinx it. What a cognitive distortion!

Not anymore.

I also knew that I owed it to my mission, the people I want to help, to drop the knowledge on how my success came about. After all, the most common question I got was “how do you find/get jobs?” I could see that question rearing up again from a mile away. Rightfully so. And just as I do not subscribe to the narrative of talent in the illustration industry, nor would I accept the pathetic answer of “I got lucky.” Screw that. I work hard. While my illness would have me think otherwise, I know I work hard! So I had to sit back and think about it. Why was I getting jobs? Why was I successful? What had changed? How the h*ck did I get here?

Time.

The long game (link) is real. I’ve wanted to be an editor and writer for more than half my life. I just turned 30, and in the last six months these dreams have begun to come into fruition. My desire was maddening at times and disappointing at others. But it never really went away. I stuck with it. I invested in books, read articles online, and browsed industry magazines at the library. Then I found my people. Authors of all kinds, little (mostly indie) publishers, and a few stray editors. I continued learning and growing while doing my best to remain humble. Then my chance came. I finally earned the chance.

Photo by Providence Doucet on Unsplash

I’ll always be grateful for that first contract, but I also worked hard. I wanted to show my gratitude and make it a little more than worthwhile to the client. More importantly, I wanted to be sure I was proud of my work. One should never waste an opportunity. Doing that first contract got me talking about editing more. The conversation was active, and that seemed to bring more notice to me. I tweaked my social media as I went along too.

I knew, deep down ,that this was my time. One contract begot another, and with the support of those who knew me and then those who worked with me, more contracts have come. So there is no quick trick or magic pill. Life isn’t like that. It would be boring if it was. Here’s my short advice. Hang in there. Keep working on what you know. Keep letting your passion lead. A real passion and love for literature, storytelling, and clear communication. Spare some time to visualize what you want your life in editing to look like. You will be seen as an asset in time. Be prepared.

All the best. You CAN do this. I’ll be rooting for you.

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