I received a new work project yesterday. An almost-500-page book about elections and politics in Egypt. Doesn’t THAT sound thrilling?? Not my usual medical stuff, though, and it’s nice to edit something a little different now and then (at least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself).
Aside from the subject matter, another thing that’s a little “different” about this project is that I won’t be editing electronically in Microsoft Word with the help of my fancy schmancy templates (that do a lot of work FOR me!). They’re taking me back to the Stone Age with this one… and I have to edit with a good, old-fashioned no. 2 pencil! I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a hand edit project. I’m not sure I even remember how to do this… but hopefully it’ll all come back to me. If not, I’ll turn to Google and hunt down some proofreaders’ marks cheat sheets!
Ironically, the same week I have one client abandoning technology in favor of a hand edit, I have a Web conference with another client re: their switch to a Web-based, more automated invoicing system. Funny how two very similar companies have such different approaches to technology.
When I started with one of these companies almost 12 years ago, were were still doing a lot of manual, hand editing… and the electronic editing wasn’t done in MS Word, but in a crazy DOS-based program that had no whistles and bells; it was verrrrry basic. In these last 12 years, technology has certainly come a long way. Some of it has made my job a lot easier… and some of it hasn’t. Technology is great, but a computer program can only do so much. I spend a lot of time these days fixing mistakes that the programs make when they attempt to do my job for me.
Luckily, the human brain is still a necessary component to my job, no matter how fancy our editing programs get or how much we embrace technology… otherwise, I’d be out of work. So, although I do appreciate technology and some of the short-cuts it’s afforded me in the last decade, I’m KIND OF looking forward to going “old school” for the next few weeks and editing with my trusty no. 2 pencil again. (We’ll see how my tune has changed in a week or two, when I’m ready to stab my eyeballs with said no. 2 pencil!!!)