Note: There is some fun news at the end of this article, so stay tuned through the very end.
Have you ever wondered what sacrifices editors make in order to make sure the books you’re reading are as polished and accurate as possible?
This is not a comprehensive list at all, as I’m only speaking from my own personal experience.
Here are a few things I miss when I’m on an editing deadline.
- FAVORITE CLOTHES
Laundry tends to pile up a bit more when I’m on deadline, because I like to stay in the editing zone instead of make the time to do a load or two of washing. So my favorite tees, jerseys, and comfiest comfy pants often end up in the bottom of a mountain of clothing to be laundered once I’m off deadline… and I end up wearing some of my least favorite things in that final week of work. Bonus! I’ve rediscovered some neat t-shirts I picked up on vacations over the years.
When it’s crunch time (the last week of any of my editing deadlines), I opt for easy, quick food. Ramen Noodles, peanut butter sandwich, a can of Pringles… anything that takes as little prep time as possible. This means I miss out on hot-from-the-oven foods like pizza and casseroles, as well as anything made on the stovetop such as scrambled eggs, pasta, and Hamburger Helpers. Not only those things, but I also miss baking desserts. Cakes, cookies, cobblers… I love a good dessert, and I certainly miss creating them when I’m busy trying to get those chapters edited.
Editing is a solitary event, meaning I don’t get to hang out with my family or friends as often as I’d prefer when I’m on a deadline. Sometimes I’ll sit with my family when they’re watching a movie even though I’m working with headphones on and cannot pay any attention to the film. I’ve been known to do that when I’m craving the human connection but must still get a few more chapters fit in before I can call it a day. I do try to carve out some family/friends time even during deadlines, but some books are trickier and more complicated than others, causing them to require more of my time.
- LEISURE READING
While I enjoy my job and the books I edit, working on a book and reading a book for fun are two completely different things. So when I’m on a deadline, the book I’m working on becomes my top priority, and leisure reading must be shoved (sometimes literally) aside. Those piles of books in my room taunt me throughout the deadline, but they also serve as great motivation for those moments when I struggle to find good focus for the work at hand. (Dealing with attention deficit disorder, though undiagnosed, is not always an easy feat, but every ounce of focus gained is a hard-fought battle won.)
Life on deadline is not always easy or fun, but it is definitely rewarding. I love it when a book’s typos and factual errors and inconsistencies are fixed, and the plot and characters and story itself then shine so brightly for the readers to come. My job is important to the authors and publishing companies I work for, and I cherish the opportunity to be a small part of bringing polished books and reading happiness to their eventual readers.
What sacrifices do you make in order to do your job?
How do you find the rewards compare to the sacrifices?
By the way, one of my recent short stories was nominated for the finals of a contest! While I did not win a prize, I am happy to have reached the final round in yet another contest with one of my stories and to have received such high praise from a peer (Kellyn has published nine novels, novellas, and short stories, all before the age of eighteen!). You may find more details and see Miss Roth’s comments about my story here.