I know the year’s not over yet, but what with the endless social engagements and chocolate-eating one must fit in at this time of year, I’m going to go ahead and review 2017 now. I’d like to think not much will change in the next two weeks, but if this year has taught us anything, it should have been the fallaciousness of a statement like that. But anyway, here are the bits of 2017 that stood out for me:
Favourite editing job – This is tough call, because I love all my clients and hate to show favouritism. But I’m so proud of my client and friend Elizabeth Grey. This year, she has drastically revamped her first novel, taught herself formatting and cover design, published not only that first novel but a bonus novella, started on her next book, and set up a cover-design business. It was a real pleasure working on Just Friends and Always You, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series.
Book of the year – The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I had heard of this YA novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and was interested in reading it, but what really prompted me to buy it was the Lani Sarem/NYT nonsense. So I’m thankful to Sarem for that at least, because THUG is astonishing. Vibrant, honest, raw and heartbreaking – everyone should read this.
Professional highlight – Without a doubt, the SfEP conference in September. I went on about this at length on my blog, but it really was the most fantastic thing I could have done this year. I learned so much, met some fantastic people, and came away full of ideas about how to improve as an editor and grow my business.
Professional low point – An unexpected dry spell due to cancellations early in the year hit my cashflow and my morale hard. It forced me to look more closely at how much effort I was really putting in to marketing my business (answer: not nearly enough). I’ve still got a long way to go in this respect, but that time really forced me out of my comfort zone and to get over my fears of approaching potential clients. It wasn’t quite as horrible as I was expecting it to be, and hopefully I can build on that experience to minimise the chances of those gaping holes in my schedule appearing again.
Social media highlight – my 59 days of #TheDailySwear were tremendous fun, and I even managed to shock myself by running out of swears, something I never thought would happen. It entertained some people, and I’ve even been told it’s actually helped someone answer a query, so that makes the endeavour all worthwhile. I admit that part of this was inspired by Lousie Harnby and John Espirian’s content marketing session at the SfEP conference. It really got me thinking about what it is that I can offer other people. Turns out it’s swearing.
Revelation of the year – I am very, very easily distracted. I knew this, of course, but I didn’t realise until recently quite how much it was affecting my productivity. Since I started working in Pomodoro-type chunks, I’ve become a much faster, and better, editor. Also gaining a very honourable mention is the revelation that discovering I’m bad at something – and even having other people discover I’m bad at something – is not the worst thing in the world.
Hardest email to write – Telling a client their manuscript wasn’t ready for the line and copy-edit they’d booked. I hate doing this. It’s horrible. It feels like you’re squashing someone’s baby (not that I have all that much experience of squashing other people’s babies. Or my own). But I know that the book is going to end up so much stronger for it, and I’m really impressed with the way the author has embraced the challenge.
Most worrying internet search – While editing Sick Fux by Tillie Cole, trying to figure out whether “hematolagnia”(don’t Google it, at least not at work) can be used attributively. Results were inconclusive – apparently not many people ever need to use that word in any way. They clearly have more normal jobs than me.
So that was 2017. Definitely a year of learning lessons for me, and 2018’s going to be a year of applying what I’ve learned in order to achieve world domination. Or, failing that, lots of interesting and rewarding editing jobs and a healthy dose of personal and professional development. That’s probably less tiring than world domination. Slightly.
Merry Christmas, everyone!