Technical Editing: Survey

Subject: Technical Editing: Survey
From: Documania <dcma -at- MAIL1 -dot- NAI -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 16:50:11 -0500


This list has helped me resolve an identity crisis. I love to write; I love
to edit. The Big Question is, which do I love more? I'm at a crossroads in
life where it's time to commit myself to a career path -- which is why I
joined this list. The secondary questions I needed to answer were, What
does it take to be a technical writer? Do I have, or can I acquire,
whatever it takes?

After reading the list for several months now, the answer is a resounding
NO to the qualifications question. I am grateful to you all for helping me
decide that editing is where I belong. I have thus rephrased my Big
Question: What does it take to become a full-time copyeditor?

I am investigating this from many angles right now, including participation
in the Copyediting list. I already have freelance clients and leads for
more. What I'd like to ask this group is, What course of action would you
recommend for someone who wants to be a technical editor (in the U.S.)?

Many of you have jobs that I would love to _support_, not do. There seems
to be a need, although not necessarily a demand, for nitpickers like me.
Would you therefore describe how the editing and proofing functions are
performed in your companies? (I understand that some of you do this
yourselves as part of your tech writing responsibilities, or because your
operation is understaffed. For the moment I am interested in hearing from
folks whose companies employ editors as separate positions from writers,
whether as in-house staff or outside contractors.)

Also: If you can tell me anything about the qualifications required for
your editors, I would be much obliged. I would also appreciate referrals to
tech editors willing to be "interviewed" or resources (Net and external)
about which I'm unaware. Last, I would like to hear your opinions about
having an editor support you as a writer.

If you think your remarks will interest the list, feel free to respond
publicly. Otherwise e-mail me directly. If I get a big response, I will
probably not respond to individuals, so please don't feel snubbed by a
one-way communication. Conversely, if response is light, I will acknowledge
each message.

Thanks in advance!

Carolyn Haley
dcma -at- ct1 -dot- nai -dot- net

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