I’d suspected as much from hours of unpaid online research, but I finally found a Canadian editor saying – in fun snarky terms – exactly what I thought: there’s no Golden Road to becoming an editor. You essentially have to speak it into existence (tell people you’re an editor), and back that up with experience.
It’s that weird mixture between “you have to have experience before we hire you” and “where does anyone get experience”. The Canadians are apparently a little more organized in their post-graduate courses; while I could not find any recent links to the Banff Summer Publishing Workshop, both Simon Fraser University and George Brown College are alive and training.
I’m still considering the University of California San Diego Extension (UCSD) Copyediting Certficate, just for independent verification of my skills. While considering the cost, I think…..do I really need a certificate? What about Poynters News University, which offers a “certificate” for all of $150? Or the MediaBistro Copy Editing Certificate, which is more intensive but also more expensive?
The joy of No Certification Necessary is that you can jump out into the marketplace and see if anyone likes your stuff enough to pay you for it.
The sorrow of No Certification Necessary is that no one really knows what you can do. Maybe you’re the kind of expert they need. Maybe you’ve just thrown out a shingle onto the trash heap of commerce, hoping to make a quick buck from the Philippines before bad reviews catch up with your profile. Either way, it looks like I’ll have to go through endless streams of quick editing tests (i.e. anything less than a day) of each and every company with which I do business. It’s either that, or paying upwards of $1,500 just to say, “I really CAN write and edit. See, a shiny new certificate snuggled up with my college degrees.”
Sometimes, I really hate the super-abundance of caution with which people approach everything, from riding a bike (you might die in the street!!) to opening a business (do you have your trade name certificate yet?!). Much of it stems from this feeling: I don’t want to suffer. I don’t want to try really hard and not make a lot of money for a while, I just want a piece of paper that say, “I’m awesome. Hire me.”
The bummer about pieces of paper is that humans are so picky about them. They have to be the Right kind of paper, from the Right side of the river bank, and they must have been blessed by the village priest (i.e. an educational Dean). Then, when someone doesn’t want to pay a lot for the paper, they inevitably point out that the village priest in THIS village (i.e. the University or College) wasn’t such hot stuff. He doddered, he waffled, he made eyes at the village girls instead of attending to his work.
Well, piffle to the cheapskates. I’m taking some Udemy courses, and that’ll have to do for now!