Progress, Not Perfection

Progress Not Perfection via A Detailed Palette

In addition to writing about furniture, all day and every day, I also work on some freelance editing projects. I thought I'd take a second to explain it a bit more fully. Most recently, these have been manuscripts (a rough draft version of a novel) from independent, self-publishing authors. These are authors who are not going the traditional route that many of us know about when it comes to publishing. They aren't sending the manuscript out to large publishing houses. Instead, they are taking matters into their own hands and publishing their own work. It's not a new concept, it's just something made easier by the advent of the internet and modern technology. Many accomplished writers have self-published works, including Benjamin Franklin.

Writing and editing have been passions of mine for a long time. They were the driving force behind my decision to major in English, despite the practical advice from parents, old high school teachers, and sometimes even friends. There is always a question that's attached to major like English – majors that are perhaps more general, less focused. "What are you going to do with that?" It was a question that I got a lot. It wasn't that these people were trying to be spiteful. Most of them really cared about my future. They just honestly didn't know what the immediate career path associated with English majors was. To be honest, I didn't either, and I didn't always have an answer for that question.

I'm happy to say that even though it did take me some time to find a job in my field, I am so glad that I went the route I did. Without my English major and the subsequent editing experience I got because of it, I never would have been able to edit novel manuscripts like I have done in the past and am now currently doing.

That said, nothing is accomplished without some resistance. An editing job for 2014 that I was really excited about and even shared on this blog fell through. This happened despite going through the process of signing a contract with the writer and despite the good vibes I felt about the project. The reasoning wasn't personal or even professional; I hadn't even started working on the manuscript at all. It happened because, according to the author, another offer came in to edit the manuscript. Someone with more experience was willing to do it for, well, nothing. It's pretty hard to compete with that, and it's understandable that the author (an independent author who was self-publishing and therefore not on a big budget) would go that route. But those facts didn't stop me from feeling really crummy about the whole experience and just editing in general.

It may not seem like it is difficult, but it is; you have to pour over every detail of a manuscript. A good editor can have a huge impact on the success of a novel. If you don't believe me, just look into the editor behind A Great Gatsby and the editor behind To Kill a Mockingbird. It's a huge level of commitment just to plan to edit a manuscript (especially when you have a full-time job elsewhere), and when it doesn't work out, it feels like a break up.

I'm sure many people can relate, even if they have no desire to edit anything. It's not so much about editing, but more so about disappointments in general. No matter where you are in life or what you do for your career, they are just bound to happen. And just like this one, they may not even be anyone's fault.

I am happy to say, though, that this recent disappointment totally does in fact make my news today even more exciting to share. I am currently in the process of editing my second book by B. Michael Fett. I am about half-way through my editing process, and although it keeps me really, really busy, it's a joy to work on something this creative and with such a talented, generally awesome author. I'm going to be sharing more about the process and just more about the novel and author in general so stay tuned.

In the meantime, I'd like to leave you with this. I certainly am not the first person to say "Progress, not Perfection", but I am pretty confident that I won't be the last. I really love it - I even decided to try my hand at painting it. The result of that adventure (as you can see in the photo at the beginning of this post) now hangs in front of my desk. It might just be the best saying for disappointed times because it cuts to the heart of the matter. You may not have gotten what you wanted, but at least progress is being made. Because, after all, we are all individually a gigantic work in progress.

Thanks for reading this rather long winded post.

-Xo, Rachel

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