About Me

Let me start off by saying that I am absolutely horrible at talking about myself.  Truly.  I have sat here at this laptop for several hours now, writing the same sentence over and over again, each time deleting it because I just don't feel right about it, but it's really the only way to begin this little "About Me" section that everyone says I need.

Hi, my name is Meghan ... and I'm a freelance editor.

See?  I feel like I'm standing behind a podium, in front of a large group of people, confessing to a deep, dark secret.  And maybe I am.

Being an editor isn't always an easy thing.  First, there are the authors that feel that they don't need an editor at all, that us editors are just trying to take their hard-earned money for something that they can easily do themselves (or get their wife, father-in-law, little sister, etc. to do for them for free - and, yes, I have heard this argument before).  Second, there are the heap-loads of other freelance editors out there (some charging as much as $0.25 a word - and several that are making the rest of us look bad by not doing a good job).  Third, there are the people (not just authors) that think you aren't a "real editor" because you aren't working for a big publishing company (or even a small publishing company).

Let me clear up all three of those misconceptions real quick before I move on: 1) All authors need editors.  If you think about it, you'll know I'm right.  After looking at this manuscript, reading it sometimes in the high double digits, you just stop seeing things.  You see what you meant to write and not exactly what you wrote.  Having a second set of eyes to go over the manuscript before you publish is just smart thinking.  Having a second set of eyes - that does not love you so much they don't want to hurt your feelings - go over the manuscript before you publish is SMART thinking.  2) Just because a freelance editor charges a large amount of money does not mean that she/he is going to do a good job.  Reversed, just because a freelance editor charges a small amount of money does not mean that she/he is going to do a terrible job.  There's a lot more to selecting an editor and I'll talk about that in an up-coming post.  3) In my case, I chose not to work for a big (or small) publishing company.  I CHOSE to be a freelance editor because I could set my own prices and choose the jobs that I want to work on.  I like the idea of it being between me and the author, of us being able to discuss the job and work together as a team to make it the best book that it can be.

Back to this about me thing ...

I have been reading since I was in preschool.  (In fact, I went home after the first day of school pretty angry that the teacher didn't teach me to read THAT DAY.  I was also mad that she wanted me to *shocked* write in print when she clearly should have been teaching me to write in cursive - and I later won that argument - but that's a completely different story, and one of the reasons why my printing is atrocious.)  My mother read to me a lot, and even put books in my crib so that I had something to do if I woke up before everyone else.

That love of books continued as I grew older.  I would sneak mom's cookbooks upstairs (if I didn't, my little sister would purposely lose my spot) and hide them under my bed, reading them from cover to cover.  When I was ten, I would sneak downstairs in the middle of the night to read my father's copy of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  (I was SURE I was going to get into trouble for this, but I found out a few years ago that, had my dad known, he would have been really proud of me.)  I spent every chance I could in the libraries of the schools I went to, even volunteered in my high school library and the one in a town I lived in.

I loved to read.  And I was proud of it, too.  (Still do.  Still am.)

Editing comes naturally to me.  I can't help it, really.  When I sit down to read a book (and, being an avid reader and book blogger, I read a LOT), I automatically notice the little things (and sometimes big things) that are "wrong" in a story.  Sometimes it's just punctuation or misspellings ... and sometimes it's so much more: like the main character going from Sarah to Sally somewhere around the middle of the book; the main piece of evidence in a mystery being found somewhere that it couldn't possibly be because it was proven that something wasn't even there to conceal it in the first place (that book really made me mad with that, and I couldn't understand how none of the other readers had noticed it); like the point-of-view changing from third person to first person (or vice versa) without any rhyme or reason.  

It all began when I helped my mom with papers when she went back to college, and helped my friends in high school at the same time.  I continued to help those friends (and new ones) when I went on to college, and loved the English, Creative Writing, and Journalism classes I took there.  I even helped a professor with three of his cookbooks when I went to school for culinary arts.  Friends came to me with their poetry and short stories, and then novels.  They wanted my help fixing them, to make sure that everything was just right, and it was fun being able to help the person make what they are writing the best that it can be, to help them find their voice (and keep it) in the process.

After starting my book blog (The Gal in the Blue Mask) and helping a few authors with their ARCs - on top of the friends that were still asking me to look at their stuff - the "natural" progression was to begin doing this editing thing.  It was actually a very quick thing, to be honest.  One night, my mom says "You should start freelance editing" and we joked around about a name for the business (playing around with my last name has always been something my family did - my father always said "Hyden, like Hyde-n-Go Seek" when he was telling someone how to pronounce it - and the idea of that, plus the fact that, as an editor, you're seeking out hidden problems, we knew we had a winner).  A little over a week later, and I had my first "official" editing job - and I haven't stopped since, nor do I plan on stopping anytime soon.

I look forward to reading your words and helping you get your manuscript ready - REALLY ready - for the world of readers.

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