Editing; the need for Thinking Time

I'd love to hear what other editors think about this. I quite often get emails from authors, from those who are self-confessed needy right through to the most laid-back, asking where I am with something or when I would reply to their previous message - often questions about my edit or general questions about their book.

The thing is I often don't reply right away because I need Thinking Time. I think about my clients' books a very great deal, when I'm not actually in front of my computer or actually reading something on the Kindle. It can be when I'm in the garden, in the bathroom, driving the car, walking the dog. This mental idle time is really critical to the quality of my service, in my opinion, and quite often I have some idea, question or doubt about someone's work where I know I just need to let a few days go by, and I'll thing the thought that I'm waiting for.

This can be hard on my customer, and on my pocket - since most of my customers pay a deposit and then the balance on delivery.

But as a story editor, my work is both creative and critical - it depends on my ideas as well as my knowledge and experience, and all the many books and stories I know or have read. This stuff often takes time to come up from the weird depths of my long term storage.

I encourage all my customers to chase me; this is so I can get a feel for their schedule - and how patient they can be with me and with themselves - so I can prioritize my Thinking Time as much as I do my working time. I also encourage them to tell me when they have specific deadlines or particular opportunities to get writing or editing done. Quite often that actually seems to speed up my thought processes.

Curious that at school I was constantly berated for looking out of the window instead of at my exercise book, and here I am declaring that what looks like daydreaming is essential to my work process!

1 comment:

Phyllis Lily Jules said...

Harry, after working with you, I say take all the thinking time you need. It shows in the quality of your work and how deep you're able to go to follow where the author leads.