NEBRASKAland editor notes the mindset it takes to be successful
By Olivia Johnson
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Before his six years at the local magazine, Kurrus had been an editor for roughly 17 years. This didn’t necessarily mean his name appeared on the staff page in a magazine or newspaper all of those years, however. Kurrus said a major part of his career as a freelance writer depended on his ability to self-edit. He also taught at the high school and college levels, which gave him experience helping students improve their work.
“In a nutshell, without the editing piece, what you’re doing is putting out bad work,” Kurrus explained during a telephone interview. Even though Kurrus didn’t hesitate to admit that he usually enjoys writing more than editing, he didn’t downplay the importance of the task. He explained that for some writers, editing is the easier part, because coming up with the initial creative idea is tough.
This isn’t the case for Kurrus, however, who says he doesn’t really view his work as a job. “I work all the time, but there’s a balance in there to where it’s enjoyable. It’s not a job — I’m going to do it regardless. I’m still going to write.
“When I wake up in the morning I’m a writer first,” he said.
Although his title is associate editor, editing is just one part of what he does. His monthly work includes writing, photographing and editing. In addition to his contributions and work in the magazine, he also regularly posts to his NEBRASKAland blog. Kurrus said this freedom is one of the perks to working at NEBRASKAland.
Kurrus wasn’t hesitant to admit that an editor is generally a particular type of person. However, he stressed that even those who are gifted with a natural knack for editing still have to put maximum effort into the task. “If they rely on their own gifts, they’ll eventually fail. They still have to hustle and work, and if they’re lazy, the next person will have more success.”
Kurrus offered a bit of advice for those interested in editing for a living. “You’re going to have to go and combine talent with an extreme amount of drive.” He says there are many other people out there working to improve themselves as writers and editors, and more than likely they’ll be the ones who get the jobs.
“There’s something to be said about getting out and being social about what you’re doing as well as meeting contacts. There’s a network within this as well, and it will always be there. It’s about who you know,” he explained.
Kurrus also recommends continual editing to create an effective piece. He acknowledged that deadlines in academic and professional writing limit this, but “someone who wants to do the job well is constantly tweaking the job.”
For Kurrus, it’s all about combining passion and drive with a natural writing talent and love for the Nebraskan outdoors.