17 August 2009

The long haul

My current job, a book edit, was supposed to finish a week ago. A combination of circumstances meant I needed an extension to complete it. That was duly negotiated and I even worked over the weekend to ensure I'd complete it today.

Alas, it was not to be. I'd been working at a good pace over the last fortnight or so, despite the aforementioned issues. Then I hit a brick wall. With just over 60 pages to go, my pace plunged to an all-time low of 2 pages an hour. Yes, 2. I'm used to doing 8-10 pages an hour. Even the ghastliest stuff I've worked on - usually something written by a non-native speaker of English and therefore prone to all those typical foreign errors - I can scrape through at 5-6 pages an hour.

Not this bastardbaby. I'm doing the reference section and it is, frankly, the worst one I've ever had to work on. And that's saying something, as I've edited some real stinkers in my time. I am having to google every single citation to check author names, title, publisher and the rest, because nothing - but nothing - is consistent, not even where the same citation crops up several times. Then there's the spelling, the punctuation, the styling... ok, ok, I know that's *my* job but the author had at least made a fairly good hash of it in the body of the book. When it came to the references, I suspect he chucked out the publisher's style guide along with his empty beer bottles and pizza boxes.

I've done a 15-hour day today, with barely a break. And I still have 40 soddingpages to go... Spare a thought for me, please.

At least I have an away-day tomorrow. Perhaps I'll be in a more willing frame of mind when I return to the grindstone on Wednesday. Then again, maybe not.

(Think of the cheque, Wordsmith, just think of the cheque...)

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