Debrief and Portfolio Conclusion

It’s two weeks since Sci-Fi on the Rock so it’s time for a debrief. The panel was small but nevertheless, one interested party is better than a room full of uninterested folks. I have to admit, my performance as a panelist over the weekend was not what I had hoped. I think running a business from a vendor table and then spreading oneself thin with regards to presentations proved detrimental. Now, while I did have words of thanks from attendees, and that means so much to me, I didn’t live up to my own standards. I was tired, and worse, scatter-brained, and then, worst of all, LATE. I struggled with tardiness. It’s a form of stress for me in both directions. Being early and then being late are both problems. One of the joys of coping with anxiety conditions.

Anyway, I hope the editing panel was of some use. My co-hosts were very eloquent, organized, and personable. They are really my heroes. Thank you, Erin Vance and Heather Reilly for showing me what I want to be as an editor. They’re wonderful ladies who are happy to share their knowledge and experience. I love it since the industry so often feels like a vault where everyone is holding their trade secrets tight to the chest. I don’t like feeling like I have to pick the lock on someone’s interest or confidence to learn simple trade processes.

In the end, I sincerely hope that my attempts to give back made some difference and could help add to the convention experience. The convention has done a lot for me in my recovery, and I want to support it as much as possible.
The panel also settled the quest from Portfolios (link) for me. I asked Erin and Heather what their experience and approach was to Editor Portfolios. Their answers boiled down to a satisfying conclusion. The portfolio isn’t necessary. You either have titles or works you can point to and/or do samples for clients. What matters most is your performance in sample edits. What a relief! I was glad to hear that merit weighed most in this situation, and the portfolio wasn’t a hard and fast rule in the industry.
Since the convention, I’ve come upon another discovery. One might even view it as a creative reminder. Over the past few weeks, I’ve worked hard to prepare a submission of a novel I started writing around Christmas. This was my first submission to a publisher, ever. Boy, was it a time of excitement, worry, and anxieties! I sent the first 3 chapters to an editor, and when I got them back, I withered with embarrassment. Here I was, an educated woman, a long-time writer and training as an editor, and the mistakes staring me down were stupid, if not irritating. My editor was friendly and unperturbed. So that helped. I find that the best editors are very empathetic and personable. They’re teachers just as much as they are editors. Perhaps, however, because an editor is a teacher, someone who has mastery in a specific area, they tend to hold themselves to strict standards that they never ask of anyone else. Or is that just me? It might just be me.


Photo by David Pennington on Unsplash

After a day I was able to digest and work through my reaction and came to realize something. My writing and my editing are separate. Think of it as two mindsets, if you like. When I’m writing, I can’t be concerned with editing. I even tell writers, that they re always going to be too close to their work to be able to edit it properly. Every transgression they could make, I’ve made it too (Or I’m getting close). That’s okay. You’re busy telling the story. As long as you try–do a tidy-up on the draft beforehand–that’s fine. Furthermore, none of us are perfect. Something will always slip through. No matter how many editing runs you have on your manuscript. We are learning throughout our lives, and while I may be at level 27 overall, my skills aren’t all at that same level. And anyone who’s played a video game knows, 27 looks formidable, but it’s really only the beginning of understanding the game and the character you’re building.


Here’s to continued learning!

2 thoughts on “Debrief and Portfolio Conclusion

  1. peterjfoote says:

    No matter how wonderful you might be (and believe me, I think you’re a wonderful person), you can’t be everywhere, be everything, do everything, we’re only human. As you say, you’re writing and editing are two different things and will progress and leap frog fashion I expect.

    I’m glad you had a good support team around you for SfotR, all the feedback I hear said you were great, helpful, and knowledgeable.

    I KNOW wonderful things are in your future!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • ajryan04 says:

      Thank you. You’re pretty wonderful yourself, Mr. Foote. I definitely consider you a part of the support. Where would we be without #GWOAC, I can’t imagine. Thank you for believing in all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

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