Questions for a Copywriter/Editor: Non Talbot Wels
How did you get into the writing and editing business, Non?
I think it started with my love of books. I love stories and characters. I’d often sit in public places and create fictional dispositions, intentions and backstories for the people who walked by. I also love the solitary, independent nature of reading, which can also be said of writing. All of this is to say that I love words and I love finding solitary moments. But my first real, professional foray into the writing field came in the form of a ghostwriting gig. She was a local YA author who paid me very little and treated me very poorly. It was awesome.
What do you find satisfying about freelancing?
It makes me feel like Indiana Jones. I love that feeling. Perhaps that’s a bit hyperbolic or self-involved, but it’s true. Indiana Jones is resilient, adventurous, and somewhat of an underdog. Freelancers are all of these things. We are resilient in that we face, somewhat regularly, vast oceans of unpredictability in various forms, contexts, and quantities. We are adventurous in that we are always willing to try something new, at least once. We are underdogs in that we are independent, self-motivated, “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” Nazi despisers.
What advice would you give other editors interested in pursuing their own writing/editing business?
Just breathe. It’s not easy. Nor is it simple. But it can be exceptionally fruitful and joyous. These latter things are what you should shoot for. If you breathe and are patient with the process, it will be wonderfully fruitful and joyous.
What are some non-writing, non-editing activities that you find helpful to your work?
Running. I love running. It’s cathartic and it’s challenging, both mentally and physically. If I don’t run, I’m not right in the brain. When I’m not right in the brain, I can’t write. Also, laughing with my wife.
If you weren't writing and editing, what would you like to try as a career? What's a job that fascinates you?
I once worked a summer as a commercial salmon fisherman. It was exhausting and incredibly challenging, but so wonderful and I wouldn’t ever do it again. I want something like that without the feelings of dread and hopelessness. Perhaps a farmer.
I have to ask... Does your first or last name get misspelled more often? And am I right in thinking they’re pronounced “known” and “wells”?
Yes, my name is pronounced like “known wells.” It’s just spelled oddly. Honestly, they both receive equal amounts of butchering. There’s actually a line (called a macron, which gives it the long o sound) over the o in Non, but I find that word processors screw the letters up too often so I don’t use it. Consequently, I am met with non (as in non-fat milk) or Gnome (yes, Gnome). As for Wels, I always say “Wels with one l.” People still like to spell it Wells. I don’t really mind. It makes for good stories most of the time.
Image courtesy of Subject + Verb.