Working smarter, not harder.

As an editor, I have always had a method:

  1. Do a quick run-through of a project, catching all the obvious errors.
  2. Go through it again, a little deeper.
  3. Spelling and grammar checks.
  4. Final read-through, just in case.

No one taught me to work that way; it’s just the way I’ve always done things. Consequently, larger projects could take several weeks, something I considered normal.

Two weeks ago, however, my boss introduced me to a different method, one I’ll call the “once-through.” Basically, you work the project once, slowly and methodically . . . And then you’re done.

I was skeptical, to say the least. There seemed to be too much room for error, especially without the double- and triple-checking. But I tried it anyway.

My last project was nearly 150k words plus cover copy. I finished it in a week and a day. Then I absolutely panicked, thinking I must have missed a million things. I mean, come on. A week and a day? It would have taken me three to four times that using my original method.

So I spent the past few days running spelling and grammar checks, cross-referencing quotes and song lyrics, and even spot-checking every chapter, just in case. Guess what? Everything was fine.

The once-through not only allowed me to finish faster but also lessened the amount of stress and anxiety I usually feel while working. How? Well, obviously the deadline wasn’t nearly as scary. But forcing myself to work slowly and with more precision brought back the enjoyment of editing while eliminating the frenzy.

I liken it to walking meditation, where you are in motion but still focused, still paying attention. Call it “editing meditation,” if you like.

Because of this new practice, I was able to take off in the afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday to go hiking: something I would never and could never have done before. I would have felt too guilty, knowing the deadline was looming and that I still had so far left to go. But the once-through has given me more time and energy to focus on things that matter beyond my work, like homeschooling. I’ve also been able to take small breaks during the day to look after myself, reading and resting and getting out into nature.

In short, the once-through has changed everything. And I am falling in love with the process of editing again.

Try it. See if it works for you. And enjoy the ability to work smarter, not harder!

Hidden Lake

November’s work schedule.

Starting in November, I will have extra time to take on editing projects: non-fiction and fiction manuscripts, articles, marketing materials, websites, and yes, even grant proposals. Why not end the year with a clean desk and clear mind? If you have a project you’d like to discuss, get in touch!

Hired!

Starting on the 5th of January I made a goal to send out 5+ job queries per day, every day. That ended on February 4th. In that time I sent out at least 200 queries to every sort of publishing company and local marketing firm. I heard back from 48 of them, about half of which weren’t hiring. The other half requested a resume. Of those who requested a resume, I actually had prolonged conversations with 6 people.

The statistics look scary, I know. But I am happy to say that everyone I spoke to was kind, with a few going above and beyond (including Familius and Storey Publishing).

I am now very excited to be working for Dog Ear Publishing!

So for all those moms out there who might be going through a life transition or are just looking to get back into the workforce: do not give up! Rather, give it all you’ve got. You will get to where you’re headed.

Something more permanent.

The freelance work has been going well, and now I’m looking for something more permanent: a part-time telecommute or local position in some kind of editing and/or proofreading capacity. There’s a vast world out there just waiting to be explored!

In the coming weeks…

…I will be taking a course on teaching writing to children. My hope is to teach creative writing classes to kids from kindergarten through 6th grades.

I’m also continuing work on children’s books, editing/proofreading, and homeschooling.

Don’t you wish sometimes you could clone yourself?