Sandra Spicher

Sandra Spicher

Editor


Texas OnCourse

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Didn't go to college right out of high school. Worked in an office instead.
Decided to attend local university and study chemistry.
Dropped out of college to travel.
Lived in Costa Rica, married and had a child.
Moved back to the States, built a house, divorced, worked at a restaurant.
Went back to school: community college, then university, then won a fellowship for graduate school. Moved across the country.
Worked as an editor at a university, freelancing for a university press using the Spanish I learned in Costa Rica and in my undergrad and graduate programs. Then my office lost funding!
I did an editorial fellowship at the university press and started my freelance business. Then I got a part-time job as an editor at the university. Best of both worlds!
Keep following my journey

Education

High School
Juneau-Douglas High School
Bachelor
Bachelor of Arts in English (Writing Concentration)
Western Washington University
Graduate
Master of Fine Arts in Writing (Fiction and Screenwriting)
University of Texas at Austin

Career

Editor

I edit books, articles, games, blogs, reports, and much more. I also create indexes for books.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Writing
Journalism
Communicating / Sharing Stories

Day to Day

I freelance from my home office treadmill desk when I can, walking slowly. The first thing I do is write. I typically have two or three projects going at the same time, so I check my editorial calendar and email. Then I use an indexing program and macros to index books or Microsoft Word and macros to edit books. At my job, I start by checking email, then I might check a game for errors by playing it, or make suggestions on a training module or report. Whatever the office needs!

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Taking the time to learn how to use software and other tools, like style guides, is super important to editorial work. You've all heard of spell-checking, right? There are programs that go a lot further to speed up an editor's work and ensure that little errors don't slip by. A human eye (and often, ear) is always the best editor, though. Spell-checkers won't catch it if you use "there" when you should use "here," and even consistency checkers need individual decisions on possible errors.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Read The Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press Stylebook. If you find yourself getting bored, you probably won't want to get into this line of work. You've just saved yourself a lot of time! But if you find you have a strong preference for style choices in one or the other, you're born to edit. If Chicago is your favorite, lean toward editing books. If you prefer AP, news is your thing.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

undergrad
Bachelor
Bachelor of Arts in English (Writing Concentration)
graduate
Graduate
Master of Fine Arts in Writing (Fiction and Screenwriting)

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"If you get an English degree, you'll have to be a teacher."

Challenges I Overcame

Financial