I had the impression that I was an exceptional writer; I had convinced myself that I had writing nearly down to a science. I was so sure of myself that I would exhibit a calm nonchalance and (I’m embarrassed to say) arrogance when editing the work of my peers. My new job has taken that arrogance and covered it in red proofreading marks. Being a student editorial assistant is a humbling experience and at first seemed a little unreal.“How could this happen?” I thought. I’ve put in way more than 10,000 hours to writing of all varieties: poetry, playwriting, journalism, short stories and blog posts. Surely I can’t be that bad of a grammarian?
Getting Better Every Day
I was, and still am; I’m learning quickly though. One of the benefits of my new job as a student editorial assistant is that I have a chance to hone my writing skills in an environment with high stakes; the copy that I write ends up on the Colum.edu website or in the DEMO alumni magazine. A lot of people see the copy, so it’s a good thing my editor is so strict. Meanwhile, this job is turning me into an effective copywriter and a better writer all around.
So far, I’ve written pieces for the website, pieces for DEMO, as well as assisted with some website building tasks. The job is taking my existing skill sets and improving on them immensely.
Ultimately, engaging in the skills and details of an assistant position will make me a more effective leader in the future. Building empathy for employees is streamlined by having had similar experiences or previously having worked their job.
Day in Day Out
The day-to-day of the job isn’t even a day-to-day; every hour looks different. I’m constantly interviewing someone new, jetting across the campus or seeking out a new lead. There is no set routine other than the striking of the keyboard to mark the hours, and by the time five o’clock rolls around, I’ve written a couple of articles worth of material that I’m (arrogantly enough) proud of; though it won’t be published immediately because of necessary edits outlined in red.
This proves that no matter how much time you’ve put into something, even if it’s well over Malcolm Gladwell’s infamous 10,000 hours, there’s always room for improvement. Without that room for improvement, writing is an exact science without any art.