Editor? Editor!

Yesterday I sent out a list of questions to our current authors in hopes that they’ll take a few minutes out of their sure-to-be-busy last week of the year and answer in witty, engaging, informative ways. I know it’s a lot to ask. And I struggle with this. Where does the job of an author end? Should I, as an editor, be asking this stuff of my authors? Shouldn’t I leave them alone to toil away on their next projects?

I think that, back in the halcyon days of publishing, the writer’s job used to end with final edits. You were sent a galley, you made the corrections or argued about them, and you were done. Maybe you’d venture out to do a book tour. Maybe you’d sign a few copies when you dropped by the local bookstore. But mostly you were at work on your next book and, beyond checking clips of reviews sent by your agent, when you were done with a book you were done.

Now, though, more is required of authors. And more is required of editors. As an editor, I might spend one day a week actually, you know, editing. The other days I spend copywriting, marketing, giving design input, trying really, really hard to think of the Next Huge Thing, emailing follow-up, ever-more-strident emails about missed deadlines, contacting experts in the field and begging them for their expert opinions on our books, blogging, and wading through social media accounts. Editing is my favorite thing about my job and it’s also the thing I do the least.

But it’s still a great job.

I’m thinking about all of this because of this NPR story that I listened to while waiting for my windshield to deice enough for me to drive off. Editing is one of those jobs that is hard to explain. I used to think, back when I was *merely* a writer, that editors functioned as glorified spell checkers. They fixed your grammar. But then I became an editor (luckily my boss was willing to take a chance on someone with this level of misconception) and discovered that editing is more about being able to see the details of a book and the larger picture at the same time. It’s like we wear a special kind of glasses.

We’re on the cusp of a new year, and with this new year I’m starting a new blog. I mean, this one has been around for a while, but now it’s got a shiny new package,. It’s a blog about editing, and writing, and my kids, and my cats. And about books, because books are my favorite.

Welcome. What are you reading today?

The Day After the Day After Christmas

The year is dwindling.

These days are my favorite days, and they’re also the most depressive. I don’t know about you, but every day or so, usually when I’m driving or folding laundry, I glance back on the divided hours of the past year and discover a pie chart I don’t much admire. Quite a large slice is devoted to Making Meals No One Ate, another big one contains Explaining the Thought Process Behind My Actions, and the third major player happens to be Driving Children To Activities They Used To Be Excited About. The smallest piece of pie is Writing a Novel, and the second to smallest is Thinking Unique Thoughts, and the third smallest is Reflecting in Healthy Ways.

You can see why this might be depressing.

What makes it worse is the ratio of treats to real food currently residing in our house.

And of course! This is all fixable! With relative ease! I could, for example, go for a walk and I’d feel about a thousand percent better. I could play a card game with my youngest son and therefore avoid the suspicion that I’ve neglected him far more than parenting articles suggest is necessary. I could kiss my husband and tell him I love him. All these things would make me feel better.

But I’m not sure the feeling better feel would last longer than three in the afternoon.

What I really need is a systemic sea change. A sustainable habit of living healthfully. A way of preventing quite so many interruptions.

Ah. That might fix everything. Fewer interruptions.

But I have three children. And a husband who enjoys my company. Is asking for fewer interruptions truly an option?

Oh, I have to go. The seven-year-old just returned and needs me to make him a Meal He Won’t Eat.