In the background
Over at The Subversive Copy Editor, Carol Fisher Saller has some suggestions for managing those days when the glamour of editing fades. (Yes, Best Beloved, even editing, like fashion modeling and skydiving, has low points.)
Her final piece of advice: “Accept your fate. Yep, just do it. If possible, break it into smaller chunks. Listen to music. Give yourself little treats as you make progress and a big treat at the end. It’s going to feel so good when you’re done.”
That, in turn, prompted a reader’s comment: “I find ... that rock 'n' roll works well for wake-up-the-brain-and-body dancing breaks, while baroque instrumental music gets me more deeply into the editing zone. Your music choices will vary according to your generation and personality.”
Vary they will, and I wonder whether you would care to discuss what music assists you during the slog. At the paragraph factory I forgo music, because headphones or ear buds would block things I need to hear—the abrupt reversals of decisions, the alarm that the computer system is about to crash again, the urgent query about what our style is on work force (two words, AP says, even though every business writer in America writes workforce). But I can crank it up when I’m working at home.
Haydn symphonies, I’ve discovered, are excellent adjuncts to editing: not too much crash-bang (Imagine what a manuscript would look like if you were listening to Stockhausen while editing), harmonious with the requisite energy, and a little bounce. But when the text is pure stodge, deadline looms, and something more propulsive is required: Sousa.