Tag Archives: I love my job

If you needed proof…


I say all the time that I have the best clients. And I do. (Like attracts like, after all!)

Case in point: over the weekend, a newish client wanted me to alter my Word Document Only policy. It didn’t seem to be the sort of issue we’ve had in the past with people asking us to edit .pdfs or PowerPoints, so I was willing to consider it. I know a bunch of my clients use this format, so … I was curious to address this client’s concerns about my Word Only policy.

I sent an e-mail to a bunch of clients. Well, I sent a lot of e-mails; there was no group e-mailing involved.

And here’s the proof of how amazing my clients are. Every single one I sent the inquiry to got back to me, if not that night then the next morning.

I appreciate the speed, especially since I am not always that fast on the uptake (I wish I could be. Lately, I feel like I’m swimming through molasses). And what my clients had to say was enlightening. I learned a heck of a lot from them and once again, I am in awe of the folks who choose to hire me to edit their manuscripts.

So in the end, I turned down the request to edit in something other than Word. I probably lost a client, which means I’ve got room in August for anyone who is amazing, personally, and wants to work with me so their fiction can be every bit as awesome as they are.

And yes, all these superlatives are making me smile. Jett sent me a review over the weekend in which she complained that every single detail was perfect, incredible, amazing, beautiful, and more. I kinda get where that author was coming from, with all that praise. Doesn’t sound like it made for good fiction, but it sure makes for a happy editor over here. And happy editors work better and harder for their awesome clients.


#SaystheEditor: Standing, Sitting


If you follow West of Mars on Facebook, you’ve seen mention of my new desk, which lets me go from standing to sitting with the push of a lever.

I love being able to stand and work. And dance and work (because you know me and the Spotify’s always jamming away when I’m working and it really is unfortunate that it’s open window season right now because my neighbors who walk their dogs might be serenaded by a certain standing-and-dancing-while-working certified tone-deaf editor).

I didn’t think I’d like it this much. Standing.

But know what I’ve learned? Sitting effs up my posture something fierce. My shoulders sit back again, my head is high, my spine is lengthened, my gut pulled in, abs activated. I want to be in here, standing at my desk. Weekends, evenings… I want to be here. I really do.

Know what else I’ve learned? I’m actually less physically tired at the end of the day. Not just the end of the work day. The end of the day. And somehow, that’s translated into sleeping better. And then, come 5:30? It’s not been quite as hard to get up, although I still yearn for the days when 5:30 was bedtime.

Easier awakenings, in turn, make it easier to get to the gym. The gym, of course, is vital to my wonky joints and while I’m not quite back into my old routine, I can say that my workouts are harder and I’m getting more out of them. I’m starting to rebuild the strength I have lost over the past year or two. It’s a long road back and maybe after two or three weeks, it’s premature to say, but dude. It’s all about attitude, right? And if I feel strong…

And my focus? Through the roof! I’m more productive than ever, which is amazing. (Motivation, however, continues to lag, but that’s another story and the next obstacle to get tackled.)

All for a desk that lets me stand or sit. (and dance. Don’t forget the dancing.)

Dance your days away. Take care of your own health. Try something new; you may be as pleasantly surprised by the results as I have been.


#SaystheEditor: Writing Versus Editing


I sat down last night to write a post. It’d be my usual Says the Editor type of post, pithy and fun and the sort of thing that one of you would submit to the Passive Guy so I could get the free promo and pack my schedule and work my tail off and redo my family room, now that the windows are taken care of.

But something funny happened.

It happened last week, actually. I sat down, put the laptop on my lap (go figure. They tend to work better from that position, or else I have weird arms), and … opened a Word file I hadn’t touched for almost one entire calendar year. I believe the date on the file was April 14, 2014, actually.

Yes, your editor friend found her way back to her fiction.

Oh, I’ve done this off and on over the past couple of years. I’ll start to work on something, start to write — I have a whole other project I’ve played with, off and on, for awhile now — and then get distracted or overwhelmed or just plain worn out. Staring at a screen all day doesn’t exactly make me want to stare at a screen all evening. Playing with other people’s words doesn’t exactly inspire me to turn off that editor part of my brain and do the sort of crappy first draft that’s necessary for my own writing process. Running the kids from activity to activity doesn’t exactly… You get the idea. It’s a full life I lead. It’s a good life and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.

But I’d be happier if I was writing, creating, letting characters run amok in my brain instead of it being full of the daily struggles of worrying about taking care of a house and two kids and myself and a business and all the other stresses of life. In that vein, I had it easier in the old incarnation of my life. And yes, the further away I get from the old incarnation, as I fix the problems I was left to discover, the more relieved I am that life took such a drastic turn.

I do miss writing. I miss my characters. And heck yeah, I miss those royalty statements. Even though I love editing with a passion I thought I’d never feel, it is an engagement with a book in a different way than when I’m engaging as the writer. The book I’m editing right now blows me away with its vision and creativity — as do they all, but this one in particular makes me shake my head in amazement at the quality of the ideas and the ability of the author to go to these places. There are many times a day when I sit back and envy and admire my authors and their storytelling abilities.

At some point, I’ll find that elusive balance between editing all day — the challenge of seeking out weaknesses and trying to build a better infrastructure, better word choice, better sentence structure, deeper characterization — and my own writing — that head rush of watching characters do what I wasn’t expecting, the lip-pursing moments when I fight for the right word or idea.

But for now, like so many of my clients, I struggle. And I remind them that I feel their pain even as I put them first. Not just because it pays my bills. But because it fulfills me in a way writing can’t.

Just as writing fulfills me in a way editing can’t.


The Editor’s Life: Problem(s) Solved. Maybe.


The car saga dragged out for a few days. It was a dead battery, an easy (and thankfully cheap) fix.

But, of course, you can’t disconnect a battery in a car like mine without it affecting the radio. Ever seen me try to drive without the radio on? Yeah, not pretty. And no, I can’t hook my phone into it and play it that way, either. For one, the entire thing wasn’t working, including the clock. For another, those hookups were put into the model year after I bought my car.

So a fruitless call to the dealer and then a very helpful call to Acura later, the radio was up and working. Of course, none of the presets had saved. But the XM came back on immediately, which I hadn’t expected to be so easy.

The car died on Sunday. Last night, I set the final radio station. Four days later.

I’m not the only one around here who’s prepared. I don’t know if it’s my announcement of an upcoming rate hike or just that time of year or all my clients are hitting the same spot in their writing cycle or what, but January and February are now completely booked. Which means that for the first time in over a year, I’m scheduling 12 weeks out.

Twelve weeks! That’s crazy!

But I am SO not arguing.

After all, I have the costs of the car to pay off. And windows to replace before I turn into a Susan-cicle. (My joke with my contractor: That’s not cool. No, it’s frozen!)

But best of all, I can not stress for a little bit. I’ve got work, and I love to work.

It’s all good, right? Well, temporarily. Until something breaks, or until March arrives. March, historically, is my absolute slowest month, for some reason I haven’t been able to figure out yet. As in: so far behind the other months, I’d have to edit twelve different projects (SO not happening, although with my crack subcontractor corps?) to bring March up to the level of every other month of the year. Really weird.

The upshot of all this? I’ve got the car mess straightened out, and affordably, too. My calendar is full. My rates are still going up for anything booked after January 1. And I get up every day, so damn grateful for the best, most creative, inventive, hardest-working clients out there.


Public Service Announcement: Susan’s Swamped


avatar S RED

I can’t blame being swamped on Rocktober. Jett’s got a firm control of that over at The Rock of Pages, and if you aren’t following along this  month, you’re missing out. Jett’s been having a great time, although I have to send her a guest post that she needs to get up.

So, yeah. The title says it all, doesn’t it? I’m working on an edit for one of my favorite clients and it turned out to be more extensive than I’d expected. I’m sure Steve (we’ll call him, since my last client was Stevie) is swooning as I read this, so let me take a few seconds and wax poetic.

Like all my clients, Steve is learning and growing. Signs of a newbie writer in the first two books are a lot less visible here. He’s even taking a risk or two with this new one, and I’m glad to see it. He’s pulling it off.

So why is the work more extensive if it’s so good? Well, because now that Steve has  more experience, I can push him into deeper places. Expand here. Give me two words there to polish this sentence. Explore this. Don’t you think the character might feel this? How about this? Just think about it and decide for yourself… it’s YOUR book, after all. I’m just here to … well, do what I’m doing. Give you ideas, stir your creativity, show you options.

I know Steve’s waiting both patiently and impatiently. On the one hand, I’d hoped to have this done last Friday. But he knows I’m taking my time because he’s going to wind up with a better book at the end. I know he doesn’t want to see how bad I think it is (and, like all my clients’ works, I don’t think it’s bad. This guy is a master plotter.), or how many comments I’ve made (lots). But I also know he’s dying to hear what I think (love it, which contradicts the backhanded compliment above of not thinking it’s bad, but if you knew the dynamic between me and Steve, you’d understand that’s not nearly as backhanded as you may think it is) and he’s dying to start to make the changes I’m suggesting or some that I’m demanding (dude, you gotta spell cloud right. You just do. And that’s why I’m demanding that particular change). He’s dying to get this book out into the world, and I don’t blame him.

There’s a certain subset of the reading world that’s going to love this one. Hopefully he’ll stop in and do a Featured New Book about it when it comes out and I can preen about how he did the hard work I asked him to.

But first, I gotta finish up. I have clients in the pipeline waiting for me, a ton of e-mail to answer — including a new Featured New Book, which will run next week (Sorry, Client Named Stevie who’s not the same Client Named Stevie from my last post about a Client Named Stevie) and yes, I’m pushing myself hard. Why do you ask?