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Editing as a Second Act Career

Who chooses editing as a second act career?

Most of the students who come to Club Ed to explore editing as a career are leaving other careers so are choosing editing as a second act career.

Some of them are teachers who are burned out from low budgets, unhelpful administrators, and parents and school boards turning ordinary decisions into culture wars.

Several are librarians who are leaving the field for very similar reasons.

Others are nurses and other health professionals, burned out by the pandemic and wanting to find another way to pay their bills.

A handful of them have been laid off from media and communications jobs (some of them two or three times in a single year) and want more stable work.

A lot of them are retirees or nearing retirement, and they want a flexible career they can do from home that will provide them with some additional income in retirement.

developmental editing course

Who succeeds at editing as a second act career

There are no hard-and-fast rules of experience for those choosing editing as a second act career.

While it is helpful to have a background in writing, teaching, librarianship, or anything to do with words and stories, it’s not required. I don’t expect people to know the terminology and methodology even before they take a class! If they do already know some of this, it makes the learning process a little easier, but it’s not a barometer of success.

Those who are most successful tend to be the ones who are highly motivated to work with words, books, and writers, versus just trying to find an alternative to what they’re doing now. If “anything but this” will do, the fairly steep learning curve for editing can be offputting, especially since it’s also coupled with the uncertainties of freelancing.

But if you’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that you might be good at helping authors make their stories better, or if you’ve often thought working with manuscripts would be a wonderful way to make a living, or if your idea of the perfect vacation is a cup of tea and a stack of books, then editing might just be the second act career you’re looking for.


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