Tuesday, February 14

The First Days of Being an Intern... (What I call Heaven)

So, I started my internship at InterVarsity Press yesterday. 
I was very nervous over the weekend, endlessly going over my mind how to say "Hello" and what small talk I can make that is intelligent as well. I spent hours going over what I would wear that first day, and making sure that I would look professional and still young. 
It took me until I was in the shower that morning before I was able to calm down and really relax. I had driven there twice already, so I wasn't worried about getting lost. 

Then, I was there. And they were saying hello, and glad to meet you, and happy to have you, etc. And after the tour and the setting up the computer and the meeting the Publisher and having lunch, I started on work. 

I had really no idea what I would be doing, although I knew it would be simple and not very important, I haven't had any real training in editing or publishing!

So, when I was asked to read a book proposal and give my feedback, I was taken aback. They were asking me to recommend the book for publishing or not. I assumed that I wouldn't be the only one reading it, and they weren't going to take my word as Law, but it was still exciting. I finished that, and was very proud of what I had accomplished. 

Then it was DAY 2. I came in and went to my office, got situated, took out the few things from home I had brought to make the office nicer for me, and went to see what my supervisor wanted me to do today. I was again shocked at what my assignment was. I was given a few 'mini-books' to read and give content editing comments on, big picture stuff, not nitpicking grammar. I was also given a book that had been edited and revised and was told to enter in the corrections in the computer... all 200 pages!! Of course, they didn't expect me to finish today, but by the end of the week. 

After lunch, I was doing really well, taking my time, making sure I didn't make any mistakes, making notes where I needed to ask questions of my supervisor later on, and generally chugging along. Then I get another project. 

This one involved latin translations and publishing rights, most of which I didn't understand. What I was expected to do was to change many sections of this commentary to the correct translation. All told there were 40,000 words changing. Not too big of a deal when the book is 6 million! But a lot nonetheless. 

Enter my dilemma. Each one of these projects were 'high priority'! How am I supposed to figure out which to give most of my attention to. Thankfully my supervisor is going to help with that tomorrow. It's crazy how in publishing, every book is of the utmost importance to someone. 

I wouldn't trade all that craziness for anything, though. I am having so much fun! I got to brainstorm for a title of a book being published next year, and if my idea gets picked, I'll be able to see it on the shelf!

The people are fantastic, so caring and helpful and genuine. And they love writing and reading almost as much as I do. The subject is different, and they have all had lots of years to read a lot more than I have. 

They also have a bin in the warehouse full of books that they can't sell. So they are free to us. FREE. I can't tell you how excited I was to hear that... It's my new favorite bookstore. I was also told that as a thank you, they will give me a $150 gift card at the end of my internship to spend at their bookstore... MORE FREE BOOKS!! 

Truly, this is heaven. If they would only give me a job that pays... 

Sunday, February 5

Why I can't edit my own work

To answer this simply, it's because I am overconfident in my ability to write spectacular stuff.

Really. I have a very difficult time taking my first draft and changing anything. Not word choice, or sentences, or content.

This was most evident in high school when I didn't even read over an essay I wrote, but would simply print it out and hand it in. I got decent grades so I never felt the need to edit it. I felt no need to make it better.

I even thought it couldn't get better. I was silly.

Now I realize it can get better, I just don't exactly want to work on it. It certainly takes more energy for me to edit what I have already written then actually write it. So, that has always translated into not putting that extra effort into it, and getting what I got for what I write at first.

Of course, I realize that is no way to become professional. I need to scrutinize every word choice, every sentence. It becomes imperative that what I write is not only the best I can write, but the best I can edit. I wish I was there already, able to give a great list of 5 easy steps to becoming the best editor ever, but I don't. I don't think one really exists. It has to be what works for you, what you can do to produce the best edited material.

One thing I do to help is to read blogs and books by other learned writers. Gleaning as much advice as I can is one way I have become more aware of my need for editing and being able to actually do it.

There are so many books and blogs that you can't really go wrong by just looking and going with the first thing you find. Of course, if it isn't helpful, stop reading it and move on. But everyone has something to tell about their experience and you can never have too much advice.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to check on KM Weilands' blog and see what's new! She is my favorite blogger with real advice for writers!