- Years editing: 6
- Job title: Editor, owner of Kaitlin Littlechild Editing
- Job description: Edits reports, business and health publications, marketing material, web content, and academic work
- Location: New Brunswick, Canada
How did you get your current job?
I currently work for two different companies and run my own editing business. Networking played a pivotal role in securing the positions at both companies. In one case, someone who worked there learned of my skills and my areas of expertise. They suggested that my services would be beneficial for the company and arranged for me to have an interview.
I learned about the second company through a friend. She pointed out that my skill set was a great fit for the company, and she encouraged me to reach out to them. Shortly after I contacted them about potential freelance work, they posted an in-house position and encouraged me to apply for that as well.
What copyediting training have you had?
I completed a certificate in editing from Simon Fraser University.
DOING THE JOB
Are there any complementary skills that are important in your job?
I work quite a bit on communications and marketing material. Understanding the basics of business communication and marketing strategies — as well as social media best practices and trends — has been important. Having education and experience in my areas of specialty (business and health) has opened doors for me to work on some exciting projects as well.
Do you use any editing tools to get the job done (e.g., PerfectIt, Adobe stamps)?
I use PerfectIt for long documents. When I start work on a document, I run it through PerfectIt to clean up many of the inconsistencies. Often, this initial run allows me to create a list of decisions that I will need to make and things I need to watch for as I edit. When my editing is complete, I will run it through PerfectIt one more time to make sure that nothing was missed.
I also use macros, especially for repetitive tasks like fixing recurring punctuation errors. I recommend editors take the time to learn about the use of macros for editing.
COMMUNICATING WITH OTHERS
How do you and your colleagues talk about editing?
In my freelance work, I am the only editor. In my other role, I am one of two editors. I work remotely, and so we communicate virtually. We message back and forth throughout the day to ask questions, bounce ideas off each other, and communicate scheduling and workload needs.
We worked together to create a style guide for the company, to make sure we apply the same editing decisions consistently. To create the style guide, we worked collaboratively to review existing written material to identify how things were currently being done. We also reviewed the company’s preferred standard style guide and adapted necessary style points to fit the needs of the type of work being done.
Do you participate in a community (or communities) that supports editors?
Yes, I am a member of Editors Canada and the Indigenous Editors Association.
Do you have any thoughts on the need for editors to network and talk about what they do?
I absolutely believe that networking and marketing are important for advancing the career of an editor. You have to put in the work to let people know that you are out there and what you have to offer. This can be difficult for many. I struggled with it in the beginning, but it pays off. It’s so important to network and tell others about editing and the value of editors.
Any advice for editors on getting buy-in from the non-editor colleagues with whom they work?
Show them the value of not only having a second set of eyes on a document, but a second set of trained eyes. I find that many reports and other documents produced by a company are written by several people. Having an editor do a final pass will not only catch any grammatical and spelling errors but also smooth out any differences in writing style so that the final product is consistent, clean, and professional.
Tell us about a project that you’re proud of.
Fighting for a Hand to Hold: Confronting Medical Colonialism against Indigenous Children in Canada by Samir Shaheen-Hussain. The topic required the careful consideration of every word, not just an edit for grammar and spelling. The author and I worked together to ensure that the word choice was deliberate, accurate, and authentic.
This is a notable project for me because it was the first with subject matter that required self-care and attention to my own emotions and reactions. Working through my reactions to the stories in this book was both challenging and rewarding.
Any hobbies you’d like to share with us?
When I’m not working, I can be found playing with my kids, tending to my garden, working on my latest crochet project, or reading a book just for fun.