Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bleary-Eyed but Satisfied: A Weekend in Review

50º ~ nearly at our predicted high for the day, a week of 50s on the horizon

I'm bleary-eyed, mentally exhausted, and ready for a break from these words, word, words!

Still, I'm satisfied.

Cool computer graphic of the human eye.  Click for link.

Yesterday, I spent roughly six or seven hours proofreading and entering corrections for the journal of academic writing I edit at school.  According to Microsoft Word, there were 16,407 words in the document. I had read each essay three or four times over the course of the last six weeks, but yesterday was the final proofread before sending the text to our designer for layout.

Each essay had been read by multiple faculty members during the selection process and global revisions were suggested then.  Once we settled on the selections, I read and did the heavy-lifting of suggesting revisions to the student-writers, who had the chance to agree with our suggestions or disagree and make their own suggestions, with me being the guardian of the files, inputting final decisions.  Then, the faculty members on our editorial board each did close proofs of two essays before everything came back to me to put in a certain order (a fascinating process) and to proof again.  After all of that, I still found two surprising mistakes ("altercation" for "alteration" and one subject-verb agreement error with an is/are situation) along with a half a dozen questionable commas and many cases of uncertainty that had me going back to the MLA Handbook and The Little, Brown Handbook just to be sure. 

I must say, my brain was quite sufficiently scrambled by the early afternoon yesterday, and I was reminded again that while this kind of activity does not require manual labor, it is still WORK and there is a kind of exhaustion that sets in, a fatigue of the eye and brain that pleases me.  (Also, the tendonitis in my rand hand is out of control, particularly in my thumb.)

Today, I began with doing the readings for my Creative Writing I class for the week.  We are still at the beginning when we are reading established writers rather than class-generated material, and I've read the stories and poems many, many times in my life.  Still, I go through and remind myself why I've picked these examples and what I hope my students will learn from them.

Finally, finally, I was able to get to some poetry time at the desk of the Kangaroo.  I've spent the last two hours submitting three packets (all to journals with New in the title).  Yep, two hours and only three packets.  This is because I've taken the leap off the non-simultaneous submission board.  Starting in December, I've kept a list of the top-tier journals I'd like to try this year.  Most of these top-tier journals do not take simultaneous submissions due to the overwhelming number of writers sending work their way.  For these journals, I see the need for this and am willing to bend my rule of only sending to places that take simultaneous submissions.  If any of these places keep my work for over a year without a word to me, I'll know to scratch them off the list in the future.

So, my submission days usually end up with the packets being sent to more journals, but the time spent at the desk averages out to be about the same.  The biggest time-eater of the process is the review and revision of each poem.  Here are the fine-tuning revisions.  Do I really need that "the," that "while"?  Can I tighten that line, that stanza, this poem? & etc.  Then, there is the sort through the guidelines and the compilation of the submission packet.

Again, I'm bleary-eyed and mentally exhausted, and again, I feel that sense of a job well done. 

Now, to collapse in front of a few episodes of Law & Order as a reward.

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