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When I Grow Up

caseyThis semester I have had the privilege of interning at WMU with New Hope Publishers, and I am so thankful for my experiences. Publishing is not a job that most kids think about, but even in elementary school, I remember having the idea of being an editor in the back of my mind. I always loved to read, and that was how it started. I decided the ideal job would involve getting paid to do nothing but read . . . all day long.

Then, in the fourth grade, I read The School Story by Andrew Clements, and my editorial aspirations began. It is the story of a sixth-grade girl who writes a book under a pseudonym and secretly submits it to her mother, a children’s book editor at a large publishing company. Although The School Story is mostly about this fledgling young author and her friends, it gives what I can now say is a pretty accurate description of the publishing process. Although the mom’s job was hard work, and the book did not make it seem glamourous, it still sounded pretty fun to me.

By high school I pushed my editorial aspirations to the back of my mind in the overwhelming process of choosing a college and major. At that point, I felt as if I had no idea what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” During my time in college, however, and as I learned more about myself and the person I wanted to be, I decided to reconsider my childhood dream.

This semester at New Hope I have experienced a little piece of the publishing world as an intern, and I can now say more confidently that I would like to be an editor. My work included proofreading manuscripts, evaluating proposals, completing first reads and final flips, and even writing press releases and back cover copy. I loved trying out all the different parts of the publishing process and learning how they all come together to produce the final product: a brand new book. I didn’t expect the amount of time and effort it takes to produce just one book, and being involved in each step of the process opened my eyes to the importance of an editor’s work. After four months interning at New Hope, I find myself thinking about the publishing process every time I pick up a new book in a bookstore, with a new appreciation for the team of people who contributed to its existence.

Although I cannot say for certain what my future career will be, I gained valuable insight into my personal standards and goals through this internship. I learned that I like working for a company with a larger social purpose, and I learned that it is important to me to feel that my work produces meaningful, high-quality results.

WMU’s Christian values and supportive atmosphere have been such a great blessing to me this semester, and I loved helping to produce books with a potential to turn readers’ hearts toward the things that really matter.

I want to care about the work that I do and take pride in the content I communicate to the world. Although an editor doesn’t have the direct helping role of a doctor or a social worker, I believe that books are a service to the community, and at companies like New Hope, God uses the written word to speak truth to His people. When I grow up, no matter what my job turns out to be, I want to use the talents God has given me to serve Him, and I look forward to finding out if He leads me to a career in publishing.

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