14 Pros and Cons of Being an Editor

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Becoming an editor doesn’t just refer to proofreading books or newspaper articles.

All types of creations, such as videos, music, or graphic arts need editors.

Keep that in mind as you learn the pros and cons of this profession. 

Pros of Being an Editor 

1. More authority than a creator 

As an editor, you have more authority than a creator.

For instance, you can decide what newspaper articles go on the front page.

In addition, you can choose what photos to add to an article listed or what scenes, music, and graphics should be in a video. 

You also have a say in the quality of the content that will go into a publication.

In addition, it’s your eyes that help you catch mistakes before a mass print production reaches a marketing audience. 

As an editor, you will also have control over how a social media team is run.

Each member will look up to you. 

2. Can work as a freelancer (remotely too)

You can start your own freelance business, which means you can set your own schedule.

Work part-time or full-time if you want to see whether you have another job already or not. 

Freelance editing is a lucrative way to make extra money.

Otherwise, you can rely on it as your full-time income if you have a reputation for approving high-quality content.

It can provide you with a stable enough income either way. 

3. Low overhead for freelance workers 

You will have some obligations, such as making sure you don’t violate copyright.

For that, you might want some kind of business liability insurance or to set aside legal funds – just in case. 

Other than that, computers and equipment for freelance editing are inexpensive businesses.

It’s less costly than running a pizza place, a bar, a mechanic’s shop, or a bakery, for instance. 

It’s less liable than other types of businesses too.

By the way, content creation is one of the lowest overhead businesses.

Editing any type of content fits into this category. 

4. Start earning immediately

As long as you have some writing or other creative experience, it shouldn’t take you long to earn money as an editor.

Maybe you’ll need to take on a few volunteer or low-paying gigs.

Then, you’ll use that as a stepping stone to land your first long-term assignment or full-time job. 

If you want to start earning money as soon as possible as an editor, prepare a portfolio.

Also, find someone that knows you as a writer who can vouch for your abilities.

In addition, take a writing class or two.

You don’t need to wait until you’ve completed college to work as an editor. 

5. A multitude of opportunities

You can chart your course depending on the type of editor you want to be.

For instance, you could perhaps take on freelance writing as a career.

During that time, you may acquire some proofreading assignments 

You can use the time you spend on freelance work to gain experience for full-time employment as an editor.

Freelance writers who become editors can also proofread logo and brochure text, for example.

Otherwise, they can look through presentation slides for mistakes. 

As a visual editor, you would evaluate the quality of photos, graphic designs, and video frames.

Otherwise, you could pursue an audio editing career.

As an audio editor, you make sure spoken or sung vocal and musical sounds have no glitches.

In addition, you would make sure the words sync up with video slide actions.

Both the vocals and the slide frames also have to match with the music, but you can do this if you set your mind to it.

If you do, you probably won’t be bored. 

The path you take when deciding to become an editor is up to you.

After some time, you can influence others and train them how to become better creators too.

Eventually, you might even own your own publication and oversee department editors who do the job you are doing now. 

6. Not physically demanding 

Some people may decide to work at least part-time into their 60s and 70s.

When they reach this age, they probably won’t be doing much heavy lifting or repetitive janitorial tasks. 

As long as they have their minds and can still use their findings – and have their eyesight – editing is an excellent job for them.

I wouldn’t mind doing this at an “old age” as long as I have a mind and don’t feel like writing anymore. 

7. Stable income

You may not end up getting rich as an editor unless you are smart enough to secure a royalty contract for a best-selling work.

It’s possible to make at least enough to support yourself or your family for necessities and even some extras, such as those $5.00 coffee drinks you like. 

Cons of Being an Editor

1. More time-consuming for pay than writing 

You might receive a higher salary as an editor sometimes.

However, if the pay differential isn’t enough to account for the time-consuming task of editing, it may not be worth it. 

You might end up stuck rewriting sections of “bad” writing, for instance.

I know what I am talking about. I’ve done both writing and editing.

Quite honestly, I prefer to stick to writing when I can because I have noticed that editing content takes about just as much time as writing it does — sometimes. 

2. Content quality depends on you 

So many things can go wrong when you’re working as an editor.

Maybe someone doesn’t turn in a feature article on time or is sick and doesn’t turn it in at all. 

You’ll manage if you stay on top of it.

For instance, you may need at least one or two backup plans to provide enough content for your social media, blog, or newspaper channel. 

In any case, the content quality depends on you.

If a writer doesn’t “get it right” and you publish it anyway, it reflects just as much on you as that writer.

It also reflects on the publication you’re working for.

That can be a LOT of pressure sometimes. 

3. Staring at the computer strains the eyes

It’s no secret as of 2022 that most editing is now digital.

You’ll have to spend most of your day staring at a computer all day as an editor. 

You can protect your eyes, however, by applying a minimum brightness level according to what won’t cause you to strain your eyes.

Make sure you also use the correct eyeglass prescription if you need it when working with computers all day and take frequent breaks from the screen. 

4. Demand for editors may decrease 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported a 5% decrease in the need for editors between 2-21-2031.

This could mean a total decline of 5,500 in job openings.

On the other hand, there are still to be 10,200 openings per year for this 10-year period. 

One of the reasons for the decrease in editing jobs is new software that performs changes automatically.

This includes the various AI grammar and auto-editing for videos and slideshows arising in 2022 and beyond. 

5. Not always a chance for creativity

Because of the rise in automated text and multimedia apps used as of 2022, there’s not always much creativity in editing.

Your job may be spent mostly watching content to make sure there are no mistakes, but you won’t spend much of your own time editing individual frames when proofreading videos.

The same is true with looking over text that someone has written.

Grammar and spell checkers have become more advanced, and soon you won’t have to spend as much time looking over work as you used to. 

6. The propensity for isolation 

Writers, artists, musicians, and performers all have a propensity for isolation while preparing their craft.

The same is true for editors.

All professions related to content creation, including editors, require quite a bit of uninterrupted alone time.

If you can’t concentrate, you don’t get your work done, so you have to spend time working in solitude. 

If you’re not the type of person who can handle not working with other people, becoming an editor may not be for you.

If you don’t care much for people, however, becoming an editor may be the perfect job for you. 

7. Amount of schooling not worth the pay

Some editors do make a decent living.

Don’t get me wrong.

The median pay as of 2021 was $69,510.

However, that seems low considering you have to attend four years of school, and that’s not as an entry-level editor. 

If you’re just starting out, you might only earn between $37K-$55K per year.

I personally would rather be a writer, as they sometimes earn about just as much money per hour. I know I have at least some of my jobs so far.

By the way, the writing profession is expected to see an “as fast as average” 4% growth until 2031, unlike editing.

The opportunity of earning almost as much pay as a writer as you would as an editor — at least in my opinion — is the better option.

I say that because writing involves more creativity than editing does, usually. 

Pros and Cons of Being an Editor – Summary Table

Pros of Being an Editor Cons of Being an Editor
1. More authority than a creator 1. More time-consuming for pay than writing 
2. Can work as a freelancer (remotely too)2. Content quality depends on you 
3. Low overhead for freelance workers 3. Staring at the computer strains the eyes
4. Start earning immediately4. Demand for editors may decrease 
5. A multitude of opportunities5. Not always a chance of creativity
6. Not physically demanding 6. The propensity for isolation 
7. Stable income7. Amount of schooling not worth the pay

Should You Become an Editor?

Think twice about being an editor, but that’s probably just because I am biased.

Since I tried out editing and don’t care about it and decided to stick to mostly writing, I would say writing offers more personal satisfaction. 

However, not everyone is the same.

Maybe you need a break from having to think about new things to write.

You might have a similar feeling if you’ve painted, drawn, or made videos most of your life.

If so, editing may be for you. 

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Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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