Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lean, Mean Editing Machines

Experienced editors understand that, in the grand scheme of things, we shouldn't sweat the small stuff, despite what any style manual or guidelines dictates. The readers will never know the difference anyway.

I remember an upperclassman telling me, shortly after I arrived at Rutgers, that the secret to success in college (given the enormous reading and workload) is to figure out what you can get away with not doing.

IMHO the same is true for editing.

The more I edit, the more I ignore, within reason. In the last book I worked on, I dispensed with changing e.g. and i.e. to you know what. Beginning with my current book, "he or she" and their variations will remain undisturbed.

When I was a managing editor, my direction to my staff and freelancers was "efficiency: the maximum quantity/quality output with the minimum input." I continue to manage myself toward that goal.