10 Reasons Why Being An Editor Sucks

stacks of books in a bookshop

 

I have some time on my hands because a couple of projects have gone sideways: they’re almost finished but for one reason or another the schedule has gone for a burton. So what’s a girl to do but put things into perspective?

Here’s why being an editor sucks:

  1. You get to work on some amazing projects (and usually can’t tell anyone about them until it’s over).
  2. When a project is over everyone says how great the writing is (and the editor sits in the shadows, invisible, smiling at a great job well done).
  3. Some authors get to attend glitzy parties (and their copy-editor sits at home with a glass of wine in one hand and a box of tissues, to dry their tears, in the other).
  4. No-one knows what an editor actually does (unless it’s another editor).
  5. If a project slides you usually have to cram time in to make up for the sliding schedule (and the originator of the slide is usually blissfully ignorant of the fact).
  6. You have to make more room for books in your already crammed home (and partners will never understand why).
  7. You have to defend your own writing (and avoid typos at all costs).
  8. You have to defend your day rate (and make people realise they are paying for your expertise, not just your time).
  9. Caffeine poisoning is a real work hazard (and no, I’m not kidding).
  10. At the end of the day, if you have done your job right, you are invisible.

work overload, editor carrying stacks of files

But, most importantly, here is why being an editor is great:

  1. You get to work on some amazing projects (and who cares if you can’t tell anyone about them until it’s over – you’re the midwife not the mother).
  2. When a project is over everyone says how great the writing is (and the editor sits in the shadows, invisible, smiling at a great job well done).
  3. Some authors get to attend glitzy parties (and their copy-editor sits at home with a glass of wine in one hand and a box of tissues, to dry their tears, in the other, thanking their God they don’t have to attend).
  4. No-one knows what an editor actually does (unless it’s another editor).
  5. If a project slides you usually have to cram time in to make up for the sliding schedule (and it can result in a few days off to do whatever the hell you like).
  6. You have to make more room for books in your already crammed home (and partners will never understand why, but you absolutely love it ).
  7. You have to defend your own writing (and avoid typos at all costs, but it keeps you on your toes and makes you a better writer).
  8. You have to defend your day rate (and by doing so you will make people realise they are paying for your expertise, not just your time).
  9. Caffeine poisoning is a real work hazard (and you learn to manage your intake by understanding that cake helps soak up the caffeine).
  10. At the end of the day, if you have done your job right, you are invisible.

 

Editing is a passion as well as a profession … and I bloody love it.

6 thoughts on “10 Reasons Why Being An Editor Sucks

  1. Fab post, Sara. Keep defending those rates! The more people assign value to expertise, the easier it will become to justify charging what we’re truly entitled to.

    • Thanks John. I often get disheartened by the people who expect editors to read, dissect and fix documents at an unreasonable page rate and for unreasonable fees. Yet these people will often pay huge hourly rates for plumbers, electricians and mechanics (to only name three). If I could attain plumbers’ rates I’d be very happy, but for now I will happily defend my right to be paid an adequate fee 🙂

  2. Hi Sara, I agree, great post! The other thing we’re often expected to do apart from working for an unreasonable fee is we’re expected to get the work done in a ridiculously short amount of time. It makes it difficult to do a really good job, have any time to think properly about the author’s meaning, intention, use of particular words, etc. Plus it often means one is working late at night, exhausted and much more likely to miss things.
    But I, too, love editing! I would also love the plumber’s rates!

    • That’s very true Hazel, and that’s why I now turn down work which has unrealistic timescales, but I do try to educate the prospective client. I no longer work unsociable hours unless there is a premium attached (I am taking an advanced creative writing course through the OU this year so unsociable hours eat into my ‘me’ time).
      I love what I do, but I will no longer work for peanuts or burn myself out by working into the night. It’s not good for me or my clients 🙂

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