SD/PEN Profile: Diane Rush

By Sylvia Mendoza, SD/PEN Outreach Chair

SD/PEN regularly selects members at random and profiles their background and experience in an interview-style blog post. These are valuable opportunities for members to introduce themselves to other members and prospective clients through this newsletter and on SD/PEN’s website and social media outlets. This profile features editor and writer Diane Rush.

After working as the media coordinator for the San Diego Symphony, then being a stay-at-home mom, when she became an empty nester, Diane Rush decided to make the career move to editing. “It felt right, and I had the time.” She works with a variety of genres but had the Memoir Editing Job of a Lifetime when she helped her father write his story. In her poignant recounting of the editing process they went through, she learned rich details about his life as a husband, father, doctor, photographer, and adventure seeker who left her a lasting legacy.

Here’s more about Diane in this slightly edited Q&A:

How do you describe what you do to someone you’ve just met at a networking event?

I’d tell them that I’m a copy editor of both fiction and nonfiction, someone who’s a writer’s second set of eyes. I’d explain that I help writers with grammar, spelling, punctuation, and the like, so they end up with written work that’s readable, polished, and professional.

What made you decide to become a professional editor?

About 12 years ago, I helped my dad produce a second edition of a book on breast cancer photography he’d published years prior. It was the first of its kind, a landmark publication in 1996. We ended up winning three awards for it—two golds and a silver. I was hooked on the editing process! My degree is in communications from UCSD, so it was through their extension program that I decided to earn my certificate in copyediting.

What kinds of projects do you particularly enjoy working on?

Hmm—that’s a tough one because they each have their rewards. I’ve worked on a variety of projects from memoir to newsletters to romance, plus others, but I’d have to say with the pandemic, memoir has a soft spot in my heart. I think of the loved ones lost and how wonderful it would have been for them to have had the chance to document their thoughts and lives.

What do you enjoy most about being a SD/PEN member?

When I first joined SD/PEN, I was mainly interested in learning everything I could about editing and other aspects of publishing. But once I got to know the wonderful editors and writers who attend the meetings, I’d have to say that getting together with other members is as much fun as the educational opportunities.

What do you like to do to get away from editing and refill the well?

I like to take a walk, plan vacations, play tennis, sew, take photos, and read. And when I feel like procrastinating, even housework sounds good!

Tell us about a favorite book you would recommend.

A favorite of mine is one I read a while back—Moloka’i by Alan Brennert. It’s filled with the history and heartbreak of life in the isolated Hawaiian community that housed people with Hansen’s disease (formerly leprosy). It’s now a national historical park.

What’s at the top of your bucket list?

I’ve had an idea for a children’s book—a picture book—rattling around in my head for a while now. Maybe I’ll get started on that in the near future.

Where would you like to travel to on your next vacation and why?

That’s easy to answer. When it’s safe to travel again, the first vacation will be to see our out-of-town kids and grandbaby.

What is the best lesson you’ve learned as an editor? 

I’ve learned that if there’s any kind of doubt in my mind about a word, I look it up. For example, some uses of lie and lay still give me pause. And truth be told, some uses of principal and principle do also. Those words are all on my checklist.

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