Freelancing is like Starfleet at times. Weeks of boredom and maintenance, a day or so of holycrapIhaveatonofstufftodo. Today was one of those days, so let’s walk you through it.
Morning. Finish second and final editing pass on true-life romance manuscript. What? If people hire me to edit their work, it usually gets edited at least twice? Am I that inefficient? No, that’s not the issue. On the first pass, I fix everything that’s obvious, but about halfway through I have spotted some trends, and realize that in the early going, unaddressed instances of those trends exist. I must normalize these so that the overall editing is consistent. In the ideal world, I would make the book sound like the author, only smoother. With good writing, one can do that. When it’s not so good, if it sounded like the author, well, they don’t pay me to maintain mediocrity. This one was pretty good even before I got my inky paws on it. Finish around 2 PM. Refuse to send it off. Want one more quick whirlwind read before I sign off on it as completed work. I hate making any mistakes.
During morning, receive inquiry from fiction author about rates and editing. Exchange e-mails. We agree that author will send me ms, I’ll look it over, I’ll sample edit a few pages and send it back along with a quote. This one will be somewhere between editing and rewriting, so there may be sticker shock, but if you want a great book that’s what it’ll cost. Receive and begin sample edit. I can’t tell what a ms really needs until I sit down and actually edit some of it.
Early afternoon, hear from author of true-life romance ms, who is about as calm and patient waiting for me to send him the finished work as he probably was when his children’s mother was eased onto the obstetric bed to have his first daughter. He is stuck on his blurb, which is his least favorite aspect of readying a book, and randomly mentions that if only someone would just take $x and do it, he’d be happy. With calm irony, I mention how unfortunate it is that he doesn’t happen to know anyone who writes for money. My author is not a fool. I advise him, however, that his price is outrageously high and that I won’t do it for more than $.6x. He complains that it’s well worth $x to him, and wants to pay that. I remain impassive and unmoving; $.6x, not a penny more. Unfortunately, I have no leverage, as in the end I can’t prevent him from writing a check that overpays me, so if that happens, I’ll just have to smile and thank him. However, he still only owes me $.6x for it. Let’s not forget that. In the process I learn that his wife–whose story he is writing as told to him–is enchanted at the many new words I have coined from her name. Encouraged, I start to lean into that and make a real effort to coin them just for fun. I like her story, and I respect the candor of her narrative.
Real life intervenes: wife has just come from home inspection for our soon-to-be own private Idaho. Problems are relatively minor, but here’s a chance to extract from the seller a little of her own overly hard bargaining. Drop everything, attend to review, discussion, and authoring of letter to real estate agent presenting a suggested offer regarding home’s flaws. Make wifely corrections. Day is crazy. Miss Big Brother premiere. “Sorry, dear, buying your dream home is less important than watching a really trashy reality show,” said no happy husband ever. Will watch later online. Someday.
Make grocery run. Welcome break. Buy the usual unhealthy stuff, though at least I’m eating less of it lately.
Whirlwind final review of romance ms, then birth the baby and hand it to author. Pretty sure author drops everything else in his world, except the woman about whom the story tells, to examine ms. I hear nothing back, so he’s probably happy. He’s probably still awake reading it as I write this, after midnight.
Not even close to done for day. Finish sample edit on fiction ms, so as to have eyes-off time to review tomorrow for presentation to author. Reckon I’m on the right track.
Time for physical therapy. Having discovered that during 2/3 of the exercises I can read a book or magazine, I get in some reading on a travel bio sent me for review by a pleasant Australian DJ. When I’m sent a review copy, my rule is that it’s automatically at the top of the stack until I finish it and post a review. To me, that’s just simple fairness and gratitude to the author. Just about finish it as I am doing resisted hamstring curls–it’s not a thick book, in fact not as thick as I wish it were. By now it’s 11:30 PM, and in some form, I have been at work for twelve hours.
Still not done. A blog entry is way overdue. Regular readers don’t know I was in Idaho for three days with a 4.5 hour drive each way, and unless they’re personal friends, may not be moved by that. They just know nothing’s happening here. This cannot be tolerated, and I am somewhat understandably a bit tired, so I pull up WordPress and begin a blog entry. About what? Remember, there is no writer’s block. You want to write or you don’t. Obviously I want to write at this time, because I refuse not to write. Then decide that a busy literary day might be interesting to concierges, engineers, nurses, electricians, homemakers, lawyers, game wardens, activists, campground managers, cashiers, and all the other folk who take time to read what I write. I put on some rap and get to work.
At half past midnight, my workday is done. Productive day. If this was my every day, I’d have a lot less spare time, but I’d deal.
Good morning, dear reader.