Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Seeing the Bigger Picture

I’ve written before about the importance and benefits of taking time away from your workstation, especially if your schedule is at a level where not too much light or physicality gets a look in. I’m a freelance editor, thankfully a very busy freelance editor, so I needed to take my own advice before my innards seized up. What better opportunity than a wedding in the sunny climes of Portugal’s Albufeira? A busload of us scooted off to the airport and away we went for a glorious week of fun and total relaxation. I kid you not, while I checked my emails every evening, and even answered a couple, not a moment was spent actually working. Beautiful beaches were fully exploited, as were the restaurants and cultural establishments, so I didn’t suffer the effects of work withdrawal too much, if at all.
But now I’m back and the reality of life kicked in almost as our plane’s tyres hit the runway at Knock. My schedule is packed for the foreseeable, and I’m loving it. Being booked up like that is great for me, but can sometimes prove problematic for prospective clients, especially those who have it in their heads that now their work-in-progress is ready to be edited, then it should be edited without delay. Ah, if only that where the way of the world, but it doesn’t work that way, unless you’re lucky enough to find an editor who has nothing on the scheduling ramp.
Writers need to see the bigger picture. It takes a substantial chunk of your life to complete that first draft and then bring your manuscript to a level where it’s ready for a professional edit. While you’re sweating away at that, you’re visualising your novel on a prominent Best Seller shelf, even doing very well on Amazon, etc, and so it’s easy to believe the fantasy that it’s a simple hop, skip, and jump from one stage to the next. But that’s not the case. While you’re working through the self-editing phase, you should send your sample chapter out to your self-made shortlist of prospective editors. Having a half-dozen sample edits to hand will better enable you to decide which editor is for you, but more importantly, through correspondence, you’ll have a much clearer idea of scheduling – knowing when your chosen editor can fit you in for that first developmental or line edit.
I receive sample chapters from writers on a regular basis. The way I operate, I won’t take on a new client before providing a sample edit – I get to see what I’m working with, and the writer can decide if my editing approach suits them. Some balk at the prospect of having to wait several months for their editing slot to become active. But as we all know, time doesn’t stop, and what with work and life, that allocated date is upon you before you know it, and it comes all the faster if you’ve continued smoothing out the creases in your wip or have maybe embarked on the next book. Once my first edit begins, you’ll have your ms back within two to three weeks, sending you into full rewrite mode and bringing your wip closer to that prized shelf.

So, take stock of what stage your wip is at, then project to where you’ll have it self-edited and ready to be professionally edited. Once you have that timeframe established, you’ll have a better idea when to send out that chapter to your shortlist of editors for a free sample edit. Once you work through the returned edits, you’ll be in a much better position to decide which editor is for you. But most importantly, you’ll be able to schedule your edit and still have time to work on your wip during the inevitable waiting stage. Or you could just fish around for an editor who has a clear schedule sheet. I’m worth the wait, but it’s your call.


  1. Already planning on getting to Albufeir while I wait for my edit. Thanks, Eamon.

    1. You'll love it there, Dreama. The break will re-energise you for the next draft. Thanks for commenting. ;-)