Thursday, January 15, 2009


I used to work for a company that valued editors, understood that quality editing takes time, and built sufficient time into production schedules to allow that to happen. Managers often told us that it was time to “do your magic” when they gave us assignments. This is not the case where I currently work.

Yesterday I received word that next Tuesday I’ll receive 125 pages—the technical part of a proposal—to edit by COB Wednesday. I’m supposed to receive the material around noon. If the past is a prelude, that means around 5 p.m.

I have repeatedly told the proposal coordinators that I can edit roughly seven pages an hour; on average. If the writers don't follow our style rules (which is a near certainty), or if the material is badly written, that number can go way down. In addition, I’ve said that after about ten straight hours of editing, I've just about reached my daily limit.

Sadly, for me, this message has, and will continue, to fall on deaf ears.
It never ceases to amaze me how few people understand that a thorough edit cannot be done in the time period often allotted to editing. Those folks really do expect magic!