In February, I copy edited a book intended for social entrepreneurs (i.e., people who want to start a business with the goal of solving social problems). The author poses the question, "Think of your field as a whole. Is it known for being stagnant or innovative?" I chuckled and thought about the copy editor stereotype: an elderly white woman with glasses, similar to the librarian stereotype, but instead of holding their index finger to their lips, they are holding a red pen and looking down at your work with disappointment.
Now that I’m 26, my husband keeps teasing me about being in my “late twenties.” (He’s two years younger than me.) Long ago are the days when I would hang a celebrity’s poster on my wall and think about how grown up they seemed. It's weird that I'm the same age as Cardi B...
Being born in 1993 makes me a millennial, and being a millennial has actually been a benefit to me as a copy editor. We spent our childhood years making mud pies and playing with Play-Doh, but we also grew up with the Internet and social media — allowing us to balance the old and the new. In university, I received a formal technical writing and editing education, even learning the traditional proofreading marks that our stereotypical copy editor would have used before Track Changes was invented. But I also took courses dedicated to document design, analyzing audiences, and inbound marketing.
My education and experience in editing a broad range of nonfiction writing have allowed me to adapt my editorial eye based on the type of writing and its intended audience. Magazines, for example, can be written in a casual style of voice and therefore do not need to follow more traditional grammar rules, such as never ending a sentence with a preposition or never using sentence fragments. But I would never suggest starting a sentence with a conjunction in formal business reports or encyclopedias ;)
“Making a difference in the world” is another common trait among millennials, and that trait didn’t skip over me. Other freelance copy editors have told me that they only edit because they are good at it or because it pays the bills. What sets me apart is that I genuinely love what I do. I'm driven by my passion for detail and the goal of using my talents to help others. My clients are able to see their writing in a whole new light once it has come and gone my way, and their readers see them as credible, organized, and professional
To only make edits that are impactful yet unnoticeable and to continue loving what I do
Alora D. Boerner
Freelance copy editor serving nonfiction writers, small business owners, and job seekers.