Paul Ashe

Paul Ashe

Paul Ashe

Entry Level Member

Why did you choose an editorial career, and how did you get into it?

I have always enjoyed playing with words and writing. At primary school I wrote a poem which made teachers think it was too good for me to write (probably says more about how I projected myself as a kid than the teachers) and in secondary school I published, and sold, a newspaper to my peers. Soon after becoming a teacher of English as a foreign language I got the chance to write materials for one of the big publishers and have been delving deeper into the publishing process ever since.

What training have you done to get your editorial career up and running?

Currently, my main focus lies more in educational consultancy and I think I still have a long way to go before I feel I can call myself a fully fledged editor (could it be imposter syndrome?). The courses I have taken with CIEP on Copyediting and Editorial Project Management have really helped fine-tune the rough skills I had gained up to that point. These were extremely useful eye-openers and the next courses on the horizon include Getting to Grips with Grammar and Punctuation as well as Editing Digital Content.

What work are you most proud of?

I guess any project on which I feel I overcame problems and managed to find effective solutions. Translating and copyediting for the local council in the city where I live in Spain was rewarding, as it was an extra challenge with the translation element included. I also recently enjoyed learning more about Lynn Nottage by editing a short piece for DIGITAL THEATRE+, knowing that college students would be progressing in their studies thanks to the piece.

What do you do if you're struggling on a job?

I don't like asking for help as I don't like to bother people. However, as a forum moderator I have had the chance to really get to see just how supportive the CIEP forums can be. They really can be a place to get lots of excellent advice from very experienced professionals who are willing to help out and reply very promptly to my questions. As a relative newbie to the sector it is great to see a forum dedicated to others in the same boat and feel that there is no judging when asking, what appears to be, the most basic of questions.

What does being a member of the CIEP mean to you?

I feel part of a like-minded supportive network, which not only provides answers to my many questions but also provides even more in the form of training and development opportunities, contacts with possible clients and behind-the-scenes insights into the nitty-gritty of what editing and proofreading is really all about, with a healthy focus on your physical and mental wellbeing. This help and advice ranges from how to convince a client that the overuse of capitals is not a good thing to the best office chair and table to help you work at your best!

Which editorial tasks do you enjoy the most and why?

Good question. I've never really thought about the specifics of what I enjoy. As I work mainly in the ELT sector and have a good grasp of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages I enjoy checking whether the language used is appropriately graded for the target audience and suggesting alternatives if not. I am also an experienced materials writer for print and digital content so I enjoy suggesting alternatives for certain activities and tasks to ensure the content achieves its objectives as effectively as possible.

Do you have any editorial pet hates?

I guess we all do. Apart from having to correct numerous simple typos which have slipped through the net I get frustrated when projects slide as I usually have a very tight timetable and plan a long time ahead.  

What has most surprised you about your editorial career?

Several different things. Firstly, as a copyeditor I have been surprised at just how many transferable skills I have as a teacher, teacher trainer and materials writer in the ELT sector. On the flip side, I have also been surprised about the wealth of things an editor needs to be very good at; the list is very long and seems to be getting longer all the time! Finally, I guess it is the inconsistency shown by some clients in their understanding of just what a copyeditor, proofreader etc. should be responsible for.

What's the best career advice you've received?

  1. If you're going to do something, do it well.
  2. Do what you enjoy (eventually someone will pay you for it!).

What advice do you have for people starting out on an editorial career?

  1. Get some training under your belt and clear guidance on the various areas into which you can expand and how.
  2. Put your training into practice quickly and see if it's really what you want to do.
  3. If it isn't, don't be scared to change direction and try something else. Find something you really enjoy!

Do you ever stop editing?

Do you realise how many times I have reviewed my own words in this contribution knowing who will be reading it? Ha ha! Despite the revisions I bet I have still made some basic mistakes.

Finally, tell us one thing about you not related to editing

Related to my passion for the English Language Teaching sector I have created a free service for adult learners of English where they can get free English lessons online. I share this service with NGOs and any individual who might be interested. It provides a free level test of English and access to online lessons depending on the level:

The CIEP does not give any special endorsement to the members who appear in Meet our members. If you are looking for an editorial professional, we recommend you search the Directory of Editorial Services.