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Ashley Holmes Prompt #1 Winning the third grade story-writing contest made me feel like I had top-notch writing skills. After all, everyone was required to participate, but my story got first place! It was after this at victory that I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up: I was going to be an author. I was convinced that my future novels would rival the popularity of the Harry Potter series. But the more I tried to invent creative storylines, the more I realized that I didn’t actually possess that the talent of making up stories. You see, my winning story had been the real-life tale of how I fell down a mountain in Hawaii and was forced to spend my vacation outside of the ocean. I didn’t have to create a storyline, because I just recorded what had happened in real life. Trying to invent interesting plots from scratch always left me with a blank page. So for after several years of attempting to become an author, I gave up on writing and pursued other interests. Nearly ten years later, I was assigned awrote a five-page research paper in for a high school English class. I was surprised to get my paper back with hardly any red marks and a high score of 197/200. Seeing those few red marks made me realize what made my writing good: it wasn’t my ultra-creative ideas, because I didn’t have any of those; instead, it was my proficiency with the grammar and mechanics of English, because those thingsit enabled me to communicate ideas clearly and effectively. This experience helped me realize the part of writing that I was good at, and consequently what I actually want to be “when I grow up.” I want to be an editor because I enjoy editing, and because I have the skills and personality for the job. Like most other English nerds, I enjoy curling up with a good book. I love how words on a page can inspire imagery and encourage emotion. Theirs nothing quite like reading a really interesting novel.—What’s that? My incorrect use of their distracted you from what I was trying


to say?— Errors are distractions whether they are large or, small, in a book, or on an advertisement. Although I love to read, I usually stop reading something if there it containsare several errors because the mistakes distract me from the message. I’m sure there are other people like me who get distracted by errors and ultimately give up on reading something they can’t quickly and easily comprehend. One thing I love about being an editor is that I have the opportunity to help pieces of writing reach their full potential. I get to clarify what is unclear, correct what is wrong, and eliminate what is unnecessary. I have the important task of examining pieces of writing and of making any necessary changes to which ensure that readers will be able to understand the messages and stories. If I do my job right, readers won’t be putting down a book because there are errors. I love that by effectively editing a novel, I can help authors who have unique and interesting ideas effectively to clearly communicate those ideas. Another thing I enjoy about editing is that it’s a job I can actually look forward to! I’ve never had another job that I truly enjoyed. I’ve been a tutor, a custodian, and a nanny, but nothing about any of those really thrilled me. I would find myself constantly checking the clock to see how much longer there was until I could go home. But with editing, it’s different; editing doesn’t even feel like work. For me, editing is like a puzzle or a game. I have to use my skills to make the pieces of sentences and paragraphs fit together just right in order to form a cohesive novel. I have to watch out for tiny mistakes that others might get overlook.ed by others. I have to face down a piece of writing and make sure that I’m the one who comes out on top because I did my job right. When I’m editing, I don’t need to check the clock because I’m too busy checking for ways to improve a the manuscript. Editing keeps me both busy and happy. Not only do I enjoy editing, but I’ve also got the skills for it. I have what I like to call a “selective photographic memory,” and what that my photographic memory selects to remember


are the aspects and rules of the English language. In fourth grade, I participated in the spelling bee and was given the word salmon. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but that word is not spelled how it sounds. Yet I confidently stood there and correctly spelled out the word. And how did I know how to spell it? I had seen the word on a crayon in my 48-count box. Unfortunately, my next word was adjacent, which I had never heard nor seen, so my English-based photographic memory couldn’t help me out with that one. But this part of my memory is helpful to me as an editor because if I read about something related to correct grammar or usage, I tend to remember it. Even if I don’t remember the actual rule, I’ll remember reading it somewhere and I will know to look it up. This skill helps me feel confident as I go through making changes to a manuscript. Perhaps more important than my selective photographic memory is the fact that editing comes to me pretty naturally. Before I even realized that I wanted to be an editor, other people recognized my skills and took advantage of them. In high school, friends frequently asked me to check their essays for errors and to offer ideas for improvement. When I would look over their essays, I didn’t think about rules and correctness; I just tried to help their work sound right. It turns out that what “sounds right” to me is usually what is right according to rules. This innate skill is immeasurable in the world of editing. Editing also offers the kind of environment that works perfectly with my personality. I am someone who really enjoys having time to myself and being involved with other people. A career in editing gives me the opportunity to first work by myself at first; I can spend whatever time is necessary to edit a manuscript without worrying too much about anyone else. When I finish my edits, I can then collaborate with other editors and with the author to finalize the manuscript and prepare it for publication. Getting both individual and interactive time at work fits well with my preferences.


By giving me alone time, editing also provides me with preparation time. This time is important to me because I’m kind of a perfectionist when it comes to things I’m passionate about. For example, when writing a paper such as this, I can’t just slap words down on a page. Every sentence is created with care and placed with purpose so that I communicate my message eloquently and effectively. I love language. I love how language allows us to create profound and beautiful messages. Because of this passion for language, I prefer to edit carefully. I like to make sure that I’ve done my best work on a manuscript before having I have to meet with anybody about it. I like to feel prepared and confident about the work I’ve done. As long as I plan my time well and don’t procrastinate too much, this profession allows me this luxury. Editing fits me because I like it and I’m good at it. Although I’m sure to encounter aspects of editing that are difficult or bothersome, the positive aspects outweigh the negative aspects. I chose editing several years ago, and I’ve never looked back or regretted that decision. I continue to find editing interesting and exciting, so I will continue to edit until that changes.I’m still enjoying figuring out all the puzzles (manuscripts) I encounter. Although I may lack the ability to come up with interesting plots, I have the ability to clarify and enhance the language of others. I continue to find editing interesting and exciting, so I will continue to edit until that changes. So since I can, I think I will; because I’m still enjoying figuring out all the puzzles (manuscripts) I encounter.


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