Everyone needs an editor, including you, and including me
I started a blog, and it started a job
It’s kind of a strange job, being an editor, in that, to people outside of the journalism world, most of what you do, what you’ve done, is relatively invisible. Your byline is absent, the words you toil over are mostly someone else’s. A portfolio that clearly illustrated your worth would have to be filled with the journalistic car crashes you helped writers avoid, the half-cooked narratives that never made their way to print. And if you find writers eager to share that stuff, well… invite me to Narnia, too?
If an editor does her job well, the reader never really even imagines that she’s done a job at all. A strange thing to strive for: being undetectable but invaluable.
In 2011, as I was transitioning from seven years of newsroom life into freelancing, I started a blog about my neighborhood of East Nashville. I called it East Nashville, With Love — a little corny, but I liked the turn of phrase — and filled it with news about restaurant openings and shop closings, food reviews, music previews. It was a passion project, and something I started because I wanted to write about something I loved, and, kind of unexpectedly, as a way of retuning my approach to writing and editing and being a journalist.
I was surprised when the little blog quickly gained an audience. I was doubly surprised when I met strangers who called themselves fans of it. I had no marketing budget, no Graffiti ads — anything that had been trickling out about East Nashville, With Love was based on my own social media shouts and what I thought was a little word of mouth. But there it was: People in Nashville were finding out about my little passion project, and reading it.