Monday, June 6, 2011

Freelance Editing

Freelance editing is something I've considered before.  I'm really pretty good at it, one of my few true strengths, which I've employed time and time again as an amateur.  I enjoy it.  I'm good at making stories better, at seeing things that need to be fixed.  But I can only do it with writing that isn't my own.

I replied to a craigslist post today.  This unknown person was looking for an editor, and after thinking on it for a few minutes, I thought, 'why can't it be me?'  I'm a good editor.  The more help a work needs, the better I am at working on it.  So, me being me, I take my sweet time doing research, drafting the perfect email back to this person, constantly asking myself and my betrothed if this was really something I could do, if this was really something I was good at, even though I know in my heart of hearts that it is.  I looked up fees, what should be charged for copy-editing and deep editing a book, and I took the average of those fees and halved them.  I would not feel comfortable charging someone for anything that I was not a professional at.

I still haven't heard back, and I don't really expect to.  Even halved, someone on craigslist is probably looking for someone whose fees are more along the lines of, "give me $20 and a case of beer."  But that's fine.  The point of this story is the last time I asked my fiancé if he thought I was in the right for asking someone for actual money to edit something of theirs.  His response?

That I need to edit my own stories, before I think about editing for someone else.  That the best thing I could do to pad my resume wouldn't be that I've written two novels that are currently sitting in a desk drawer, but that I've written, edited, and published two novels.  He has a very good point.  I can edit.  I can, I can.  There's a disconnect, though, between my own work and the work of others.  It's so easy to see what others have done that can be fixed, and so hard to see it in my writing.  I'm still working on it.  Slowly, slower than I could be going (I'm a full time student!  I have a job!  I've run out of excuses!).

This is going to be a post for a later day, but yesterday I drove down to Tucson with my family, and there I said goodbye to my aunt.  She has cancer, and the difference between how I saw her on Easter and how I saw her yesterday was striking.  It was very, very hard to see her, and even harder to say goodbye, so I don't know how much I can say about it, but her life has been sad.  Her life has been sad, and now her death is tragic.  Not all deaths are so.  Sometimes you can look back and find plenty to smile about, images that let you celebrate the life, and not mourn the death.  Right now, I can't seem to find many of the former.  I have resolved that my life shall not be that way.  I don't want anyone to look back on my life and not think that I was happier more often than I saw sad, that I didn't accomplish the things in my life that I set out to do.  I need to take a good, hard look at myself, at my life, at my craft, and at my plan, and I need to do what needs to be done.  No excuses.  No more procrastination.  I refuse to let my death be tragic, so I need to live my life exactly how I want it to go.

I'm thinking about you, Liv.  I love you.

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