Tag Archives: editing

Writing, Editing…Editing,Writing

Tireder than all my tribe…

Ran out of copy for Ella’s Story, so this week had to write the chapter that will go up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning. And so I suppose it will be, until I come to the end of Ella’s part of the Varnis ramblings. It really is just a side story…there’s more, a great deal more, focusing on a different but related set of characters.

But meanwhile an editing job came in the day before yesterday. Haven’t even looked at it, because I’ve been so focused on trying to get Ella, Chapter 23 out by tomorrow ayem. This is an R&R (“revise and resubmit”) of an article I’ve edited before, so I’m hoping (against hope…) it won’t be too difficult to read.

Speaking of the crack of proverbial dawn, one would be a lot less tired (and get a lot more work done) if one’s dogs did not develop the habit of demanding to be let out at three in the morning.

This has gotten to be a nightly thing.

First Ruby starts to squirm — corgis are small dogs, exquisitely cute dogs, dogs that are smarter than humans, and so succeed in taking up residence on the human’s bed. She makes her musical whining noise, which is not really “let me down” but means something more like are you awake?

This works well to awaken Cassie, who having an aging digestive system has not done her thing before bed-time and so now is taken by an embarrassing urgency. If the human does not get up and let her off the bed, something even more embarrassing threatens to happen. From there, it’s race to the back door and shoot out into the backyard in search of satisfying relief.

Dogs go back to sleep forthwith.

Humans…not so much.

So by 4:30 or 5, time to roll out of the sack for a doggy-walk before it gets too hot, the human is in full zombie mode.

I’m thinking tonight I’ll take them for a walk as soon as it’s dark and the sidewalks have had time to cool off a bit. That will be soon — it’s already 8:00. If I can wring them out before bed-time, maybe they won’t roust me in the wee hours.

The scribbling for free and the editing for dollars projects are seriously complicated by the absence of the MacBook Pro. Apple, faced with at least one lawsuit (to which I happen to be a party now) and with a cacophony of more than the usual number of angry, bellyaching customers, decided to replace the machine’s defective keyboards for free.

Since mine intermittently declines to type a letter “b” or recognize the action of the “return” key, last week I dragged it down to the Apple story and turned it in to be fixed. I hope.

“Fixing” a computer, I’ve learned over the years, usually means “screwing it up in new and creative ways.” So as you can imagine, my enthusiasm for this process knows plenty of bounds.

The contraption is not supposed to be returned before tomorrow (Monday), and probably later than that.

In the meantime, I’m working and playing on an ancient iMac desktop, a big old thing that I use as a substitute television, streaming videos from Amazon and YouTube. And lemme tell you: that frikkin” HURTS!

Another function of old age, in addition to a certain tendency to insomnia, is hurting joints. Especially hurting hip joints. When I sit in an office chair — any office chair, for any length of time (even just a few minutes) — my hip starts to hurt so much I can barely limp around. The laptop brings a stop to that by letting me sit in a soft easy chair with my feet up on an ottoman. In its absence, I get to enjoy extravagant pain. After a couple hours at this desk, I have to perform a series of physical therapy exercises just to walk the dogs around the block.

Welp, I cannot write another word, and if I don’t get up from this bone-crushing chair now I will not be able to walk to the bathroom, to say nothing of a mile into Richistan and back to Normal Acres. And so, away…

Feast or Famine in the Editing Biz

My  friend and neighbor Carol is an accountant with a pretty solid small practice. Every year she faces several frantic weeks of nonstop work. Sometimes it’s hard for a writer & editor to appreciate the hectic stress of the annual tax-season ritual, because most of the time our work is self-inflicted. Lately, though, I’ve come to grasp something of her experience.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been working 14-hour days, seven days a week on editing and indexing projects. It has been “feast or famine” elevated to the nth power. Two of my heaviest-hitting writers are in-house. One will be back in the country in a week or so and wants to take his 385-page book to press. Now. The other dropped 60 chapters on me, and then rhapsodized about his plans for the next book.

Just as these projects were beginning to coalesce, a new academic client showed up at the door with a handsomely paying indexing project.

Well. I wasn’t about to turn that guy down, you can be sure of that. So I took on the index in addition to the sprawling international memoir and the never-ending story.

Meanwhile, another Chinese Ph.D. student emitted a cry for help. This author’s dissertation director remarked that her English was “appalling” (it’s not that bad, for crying out loud!) and apparently threw several other brickbats at her. So we’ve gone through her first three chapters, trying to render them into English and still preserve her meaning. Political science cum communications studies at “the Princeton of the Pacific Rim.”

The result was, to put it mildly, a killer. I shipped off the last of these things on Friday and have been comatose all weekend.

HowEVER! Despite the pain this tsunami of work engendered, it also engendered three months’ worth of projected revenues: almost enough to cover the losses I’ve accrued a-sailin’ the Amazon.

If I could get this kind of work coming in steadily — say, two such projects a month — it would more than meet my annual goals. It would handily replace the adjunct income, in a fraction of the number of hours required to earn that much through teaching.

The question is…how? How to get paying work to come in at a steady pace? Weeks — sometimes months — go by with no significant projects in house, and then it all comes cascading down on your head. To get it done on deadline, you have to farm stuff out to the underlings, meaning you don’t earn what you need to live on.

I think (hope) the answer is more and better networking. I need to meet more of the kind of people who send me the kind of work I want. More people referring jobs my way should mean fewer long, dry spells.

So late last week I joined the American Society for Indexing, a venerable group if ever there were one. They have a list of indexers for hire, which is good…and even better, they have special interest groups (SIGs! Remember those from AOL days?) where people apparently get to know each other virtually and that also have their own, more specialized referral lists. Tomorrow (with any luck), I’ll begin trying to build a little presence there.

And I also joined the Author’s Guild, which has a variety of services and blandishments to attract passers-by. I’ll see what I can do about making myself apparent there.

I’d like to pick up more indexing work. At $4 to $6 per indexable page, an index is not a bad gig. It’s surely no more eye-glazing than reading freshman comp papers, and the pay is one helluva lot better. This last book, a collection of essays on the Anglo-Saxon visual imagination, was actually very interesting. Who knew the Ango-Saxons got up to so much? It was a far more cosmopolitan culture (at least, it was among the privileged classes) than I’d realized.

Anyway. Indexing. Editing. More, but less. Less at a time, that is.

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And What Do YOU Do for a Day Job?

Seriously? How do you put food on your table while you’re trying to make it as a Writer with a Capital W?

Do you ever question whether it’s the greatest idea since Eve offered an Apple to Adam?

Ain’t a-gonna copy and paste the Rant of the Day from my main blog over here. Don’t have enough energy, after this fine day, to recast it all in fresh new language. So c’mon over, folks, and join the party.