A couple of weeks ago I was in the middle of an editing project. I’d coached the author through writing it and sure enough she’d found a publisher.
Of course the publisher wanted some tweaks and the author asked me to do them.
Unfortunately, the Word manuscript had a ton of strange formatting errors. Lots of paragraphs were inside normal margins, headings and subheadings hadn’t been tagged so an automatic table of contents could be generated and there were even long sections with a different typeface.
Sure, I also was helping smooth the text – that was fine, and often even fun. I’d gotten to know the material and the author well enough to be able to rewrite in her voice.
But the formatting was, well, boring!
I spent what seemed like roughly forever fixing margins, fonts, and making sure of spacing and such. Nothing too difficult, but grunt work
I finally looked up the keystrokes for track changes because the manuscript was quickly becoming unreadable with every change signaled. It’s CTRL SHIFT E if you ever need it, and that nugget made life a bit easier.
Finally I went over the the 5 Buck Forum and just whined about how very bored I was.
Almost immediately a couple of the pros over there reassured me that boredom was normal, particularly when faced with the kind of mindless task I was doing. They also made sure I understood that it was to my advantage to complete the job no matter how bored I got. I was, after all, getting paid and the client was a good one.
I knew that of course, but Cathy Miller reminded me I could always stop and take a walk. Which is what I did – more than once.
Generally I figure if I’m bored it’s really up to me to get un-bored. Life isn’t boring unless I refuse to notice the wonder around me. I did spend a few moments appreciating the wonders of technology – I remember typewriters – but that didn’t last too long.
There are some things we writers simply have to slog through. It comes with the territory. The kind of re-formatting I was doing is one example.
What about the writing process bores you? How do you push through? Leave a comment!