If Lindsey Alexander could be anything she wanted, she’d be an actor who plays a homicide detective. Not an actual homicide detective, mind you, but an actor who plays one on TV. “I couldn’t actually be a detective because any kind of gore, I couldn’t do, but I could play one,” she explained. And in fact, homicide detective is a far cry from her current position as a writer/editor with Dragonfly Editorial.
Lindsey grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Indiana University; her master of fine arts in poetry from Purdue. She and her husband (who’s also a writer), currently call Oak Ridge, Tennessee, home.
“Getting the benefits of freelancing”
So, how did Lindsey become a writer/editor for Dragonfly, you ask?
“I was fortunate enough to graduate college in a recession,” she chuckled. While she’s been a writer her entire life — starting by writing and marketing for her college student newspaper — it was at her post-college publishing internship that she became keen on copyediting. A colleague at the publisher started their own independent press and hired her to be an editor.
“I know that some people really like writing and some people really like editing, but I really like the combination. Editing scratches my detail-orientation itch, and feel more useful with editing, probably because I start out with something instead of having to create something,” she reflected. “With writing, it’s really the creativity, the precision, how much can I say in as few words as possible?” And Lindsey brings these finely tuned writing and editing skills to Dragonfly’s clients.
Lindsey works from home. She says she tries to work from her home office, but her workspace is often “whatever flat surface is clean.” When we spoke, she was working from the couch. She says she enjoys that spot because there’s a window in front of it and, perhaps more importantly, “it feels like I’m getting the benefits of freelancing, like this is what people think I’m doing and it is what I’m doing!” she exclaimed.
Making sense of the moving pieces
As far as her editing preferences go, Lindsey appreciates larger projects with many moving pieces, explaining that “it’s fun for me to help all the pieces move.” She also enjoys writing features and profiles. In fact, one of her favorite writing projects to date involved profiling a World War II veteran who was the first person to take official photos following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “It was fascinating talking to him … and also [a challenge] trying to write that story in 1,000 words or less,” she remarked.
Her biggest language-related pet peeve is the passive voice. “It usually points to someone not knowing what verb they want to use,” she says, “which usually points to them not knowing what they want to say.” It’s something she tries to fix in other people’s writing and is on the lookout for in her own.
A perfect day, in Lindsey’s book, would involve waking up and having meaningful work to do – research or reading – “just something that absorbs me for the first few hours of the day.” She continued, “and then a giant lunch, writing, and then making a big meal and having my friends over, wine, people playing instruments. Stuff like that.”
As our interview was winding down, Lindsey was off to enjoy a what sounded to be a pretty perfect day, particularly for a poet: novelist, poet, and activist Wendell Berry was speaking “far away from where I live so we’re driving a long way,” she said. And then she was off to hit the road.
– Becky Harris Sullivan is a copywriter with Dragonfly Editorial.