Friday, 20 December 2013

The Desolation Of Smug

November 2013 marks my third year as a books editor. Though I had few illusions as to what I'd be facing when I took this job, these three years have thrown quite a fair bit my way.

"Spend one year in this job and you'll see it all," I was told. Well, not quite. I ended up believing I ain't seen nothin' yet.

Certain issues keep me from fully chronicling my editorial exploits in public. What I can say, though, is plus ça change, plus c'est la même. What does change is the pace. Production has been ramped up of late and it's hard to keep up.

Nine months after I had my sinuses operated on, they have started running again. Just when I've gotten used to sniffle-free mornings.

These days and a little while back, my days looked just like this:

Hint: I'm the one with the sword (photo from here)

And the dragon often won.

My ego - or what's left of it - has taken a beating in the past few months. Not since my brief stint in the media have I experienced anything similar. Although I will always regard the ego-kicking I received in my media stint as the hardest.

In a previous life, I was considered among the best technical writers in my company. My skills in documenting were in demand. My command of English was once graded "superb".

But all that didn't help a lot with the copywriting and editing I'm doing today. There are techniques to be even better at those, which I have yet to master.

Don't be fooled into thinking that cookbooks and children's books are easy-peasy because of the simple grammar and writing style. Blind spots will appear and you'll be left red-faced.

It's been a long, hard comedown from those heady tech-writing days.

I have some hope that the next year will bring new things, more things. Right now, I'm also looking at the press releases and promo materials, besides the growing pile of manuscripts under my care.

I'm also hoping to acquire skills and means that will help me edit 'scripts better, en route towards being a reputable editor that strikes awe into hearts and minds.

I imagine that one day, after a couple of decades, a mountain of 'scripts, gallons of red ink and a dozen or so best-sellers, every meeting with an aspiring author will look like this:

Hint: I'm NOT the one with the sword (photo from here)

I was told that I'm a simple man with low-key preferences, no lofty ambitions, and no desire for the spotlight. True in a sense.

But I think I might have the makings of an ambition now.

First, I need to revisit the other parts of my life I seem to keep neglecting: time management, sleep schedules and priorities.


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