Friday, July 14, 2006

Look Who's Got Her Crankypants On

Yep, that would be me. I'm still not sleeping well and I don't know if I can stay on the crash diet for another two weeks. And my mood is not being improved by work.

I love editing. I really do, even though you wouldn't know it from all my gripes about work. I really love editing when I'm taking something---an essay, an article, even a brochure---that someone has put a lot of work and effort and attention into and just giving it that extra polish to make it really shine. I love editing when it's a collaborative effort between a writer and an editor.

I hate editing when I'm cleaning up after someone who is too lazy, arrogant, or careless to create something worth editing.

I love hunting for the rare error in an otherwise impeccable reference list; I don't mind reformatting references when the author has used a different---yet consistent---style; I hate fixing references that are sloppy, incomplete, and inconsistent.

I love tightening up a well-written passage, putting a stray comma in its proper place, and suggesting a rephrasing that takes a sentence from solid to super; I hate having to rewrite something that is unsalvagable or having to "touch up" something that really needs rewritten.

Imagine you are splitting dishwashing duties with someone. He offers to wash the dishes if you dry them. Except that he just rinses the dishes quickly under the water and hands them to you still covered with bits of food and grease. Would you accept this? Would you quietly rewash the dishes and then dry them? Would you give them a quick swipe with the dishtowel and put the still-dirty dishes back in the cupboard?

This is what I face with my current proofing job. It's obviously a first draft---and not a very well-written or careful first draft at that. I have a choice between investing a lot of time and effort to clean it up properly or giving it a quick swipe before passing it on. And when the author obviously couldn't be bothered to put in an effort, I'm not inclined to bust my butt on it, even as it chafes me to turn in something less than my best effort.

So I'm cranky. And on deadline. Not a good combination.


At 1:45 PM , Anonymous crystal said...

Ugh, that would be frustrating.

At 1:11 PM , Blogger Frema said...

Unfortunately, every time I proofread/edit a letter, brochure, etc., it's almost always a first draft--and that's on a good day, because most of the time I get, "I need a letter. Can I tell you what I need and you write it for me?"

Which is irritating sometimes, but I get paid pretty well, and my workload isn't so bad most of the time, so I keep the complaints to myself. If I had more to do and less compensation, I don't think I'd be so generous.


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