My Editing Story

I have been editing and writing since 1986, when I helped fellow students turn their technical jargon into plain English. My roommate was a keen entertainer and loved dating more than one boyfriend at a time, so for a carton of beer, I’d take her boyfriends’ essays to the library and correct them to give her some private time. More by luck than good planning, I graduated from the University of Virginia in 1990 with a double degree in biology and English. My mother never expected me to graduate, so the fact that it happened on schedule was nothing short of a miracle in her eyes.

But I craved adventure, so I gave up being an academic and joined the Peace Corps as a volunteer in 1990. That wasn’t part of the plan, and mum never understood why I had to go so far away to cut the apron ties. She wrote lots of letters, and in the end, she hopped on a plane to see why Thailand was such a destination for me. There she found me doing the same things — teaching and editing. I loved my little home at Phanang Tung, near Thale Noi, which was a quiet backwater in Southern Thailand in those days. I taught English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) to Thai secondary students in a rural village for three years, where white people had never been seen by some locals. We had droughts, when I bathed outside on the race track using water caught by the school’s roof and stored in a tank. Everyone was there, watching, hoping my sarong would fall off. We had floods, when the best cooks in our community caught, killed and cooked snakes that came with the rising waters, or frogs, or fish they speared just outside their front doors. The teachers at Phanang Tung School always asked me to help them with their English. Although I was a poor volunteer, always broke, the experience made me rich for life.

To keep my world adventure alive, I emigrated to New Zealand in 1995, where I settled in the Wairarapa Region and married a Kiwi. I worked in the wine industry making world-famous Pinot Noir, learned to shoot grape-eating birds and ate more grapes than I drank wine. I also farmed deer and cattle on an 800-acres bush block, learned to how prepare wild pork and paua, and picked up odd editing jobs. But the windy winters were cold, too cold, and the wine labels I wrote grew stale after a while.

So, in 2003, lured by the promise of endless sun and no wind, I moved to Northland, where I worked as a wildfire fighter and conservation ranger in New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. Colleagues who were speakers of English as a second language (ESOL) were my clients in those days, and what you read about New Zealand dotterel now was probably edited by me years ago. But injuries forced me to retire from being a firefighter and conservation ranger, and I moved to Whangārei when my partner got a new job. I then turned back to farming and became a land management advisor to farmers in the Kaipara Region. I also founded First Person Editing Limited because I thrive on being my own boss. I have worked from home since our move to Whangārei, and I love every minute of it.

My only helpers are our four dogs. I am the only editor on the team, so you always get consistent, quality results.

  • If you pick up the phone to talk to a real person, you will get me, not an endless menu of useless choices.
  • If you email a question, I always answer in person — not some stranger with different ideas or contradictory advice.

Today, my work is trusted by clients worldwide.

The First Person Editing promise is quality, confidentiality and deadlines — guaranteed. I provide tailored formatting, editing and writing solutions across the private and public sectors. My clients have found success the easy way because I take the work out of words.