In high school, I volunteered to be one of the student editors of my school paper. Originally, I wanted the position because I love being right. Being able to correct other’s mistakes gave me a feeling of power and confidence. It also helped my own writing because I learned what great writing should sound like.
My freshman year of college I joined the online school newspaper as a staff writer for the news section. Suddenly, I wasn’t the one pointing out the mistakes – someone else was pointing out mine.
So I learned from it. I corrected my mistakes and didn’t make them again. I googled something if I didn’t know how to spell it, I looked up AP style references and I made sure everything I wrote was mostly error free.
Eventually, I became the news editor and reunited with my red pen.
After about 6 months, my focus shifted from news to the notorious “listicles” and magazine-style writing. I interviewed for an editor position with Her Campus and began the editing process all over again.
But this time, I noticed editing became less about correcting the mistakes of others, and more about watching my staff writers grow. Our chapter of Her Campus has about 40 members, and a majority of them are freshmen. Some are journalism or strategic communications majors, but some are not.
I watched throughout the semester as each feature story my staff turned in improved. I read stories at the beginning of the semester that were struggling listicles with a clichéd title.
By the end of the semester, I read stories about struggling with depression, a parent’s divorce and the loss of a loved one. I watched my writers turn impersonal features into relatable stories filled with passion. I watched them grow and struggle to do what I’ve been teaching myself since high school – to learn from mistakes.
I love being an editor. I love watching growth, improvement and passion come from young and inspired students like myself. I love knowing that these writers are inviting me into their hearts every time they type their feelings onto a blank page.
Yes, it is true that a large part of being an editor involves copious cups of overpriced coffee and a lot of late nights. But when I finish editing an article at 2 a.m. and I look at the incredible feature it’s become, the caffeine high is worth it every time.