Well, basically I’ve found that for me writing is that thing that you’re told vaguely about all the time as a kid that you need to be looking for, and that thing that everyone who’s ever said “I need to find myself” is looking for. I got really freaking lucky and found it early. I’m not going to lie and say I remember exactly when, because there was no stunning epiphany of me realizing I needed to be a writer. Just a lot of prodding by some wonderful people and a lot of scribbles.
I edited what felt like hundreds of pages in college as a tutor, and I worked mostly with ESL students who were coming from far away and beautifully accented places like Russia and Korea. I started being able to tell where someone was from by the pattern of their grammatical errors, and that’s when I understood that I’m an editor too (and have little choice in the matter). If I had an extremely large red pen I’d take it to the syntactical errors of the world, but I don’t, so I will copy edit for you and it will make me happy knowing that there are a few more paragraphs free of the wrong there’s and their’s and they’res out there.
Admittedly I’m a kid. I got an interview once by proclaiming that I have indefatigable optimism because I am just out of college and not to the bitter end of things yet (he liked my vocab). And that’s the truth, and as my dad says, thems also the breaks. I’m young, so what. Mary Shelly wrote Frankenstein at 18. Keats died when he was 25, and Arthur Rimbaud was already a fairly quiet lunatic (post literary fame) at 21. I am not them–I mean, I wish, but thank goodness for existing in the new millennium with my iPod–but no one can argue that they didn’t know their way around some real nice words. What I’m saying is, being 22 is certainly no handicap to line editing, people. Just in case you still have reservations, I make a mean cup of coffee and am a proficient transcriber too.