When the opportunity to do something different presented itself, Debbie Watson saw editing as the perfect change of direction. Calista Bruschi writes
Debbie Watson wasn’t always an editor. In fact, for 30 years she worked within the financial services industry as a bookkeeper and paraplanner. That was until three years ago.
“I lost my job and decided I wanted something I could do from home,” Debbie says.
It was quite a change in direction, but Debbie’s love of reading was being hampered by an increasing amount of what she says were “mistakes” appearing in books and articles and she knew a career in editing would be something she would love.
Debbie is now the person with the pen running Get It Right Proofreading services from her office based at Logan in south-east Queensland.
Despite her extensive financial background she works on a range of material.
“Of course I would love to work in the finance area, however, I get work in all other areas — manuscripts, magazines and university assignments,” she says, admitting that she’d willingly take on more work but sometimes finds it hard to come by.
“I think when starting out and building confidence in your ability it [finding paid work] is a challenge all editors face.”
Debbie says she combats this by practising on anything she can, and she networks as often as possible; joining numerous groups that have in turn created opportunities.
“There just seems to be so much to remember when you start out in the industry,” Debbie says. “It’s not just the spelling, grammar and punctuation, and knowing what reference books are required.”
She says her must have resources include the Style Manual: for authors, editors and printers; a dictionary; and any help she can get from online sources, including advice from other editors on Facebook.
“I go back through notes I’ve taken at various courses I have attended, and I want to grow my resource library,” she says.
Another of the challenges Debbie faces is when her clients want to “ring and talk”.
“I have been profoundly deaf since I was five [years old],” Debbie says.
This information is readily available on Debbie’s website and she also promotes communication between herself and her clients via test message or e-mail. In fact, when Debbie and I ‘chat’ it’s using a real-time messenger service.
“In some ways it [being deaf] is an advantage as I can block out background noise by taking my cochlear implant out,” she says. “But it can be difficult if there is something I need to know and am only able to e-mail.”
Debbie joined CICADA, the Cochlear Implant Club and Advisory Association, when her mother received her first cochlear implant and took on the role of proofreading its magazine until she resigned from the committee.
Hardly one to sit still, Debbie has three university degrees under her belt.
“I have a Bachelor of Financial Planning with a second major in accounting, a Graduate Diploma of Business Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies.
“I’ve also taught myself guitar,” she says proudly, adding that the sound of the music has changed with the cochlear and she’s still getting used to it.
Debbie still uses her financial background assisting the local church and has found that the experience has also afforded her opportunities in editing and proofreading.
When she’s not chasing after her two-year-old grandson or poring over copy, Debbie enjoys gardening and walking on the beach.