Monday, June 16, 2014

Abstract Thoughts: Opportunity for Improvement

Wisdom of an Inner Editor

Part of my job as Renee's Inner Editor is identifying those habits and behaviors the business world often refers to as "opportunities for improvement". Because it's important in the business world not to admit weakness or look like you're saying anything negative, and so they have to find a way of saying "you suck at this" without using those particular words.

Inner Editors also have to be careful about negativity, lest we be confused for a Critic and tossed in a broom closet.

I've spent years studying Renee's writing and have identified a number of these opportunities for improvement. Left to her own devices, Renee overwrites. She's never met an unnecessary word she didn't want to pick up and take home. Passive constructions have the disturbing habit of popping up all over the place and then multiplying like bunnies with something to prove. Introspections tend to puddle on the pages, particularly in the early scenes.

It isn't pretty.

All those things are fine with me though. They give me big swathes of text to slash through with my favorite highlighters. I do adore a good highlighter slashing. It almost makes me wonder sometimes if she writes that way on purpose, just to placate me.

But I've recently discovered a different kind of opportunity for Renee. And I cannot kill this one with a highlighter.

Vacations, birthday parties, holiday dinners, and the like are all bad for Renee. She's too busy preparing beforehand, entertaining during, and recovering afterward. Renee is simply no good at discipline in the days surrounding a family event. Push comes to shove and something has to give, and that thing is always writing.

(For example, you may have noticed a period of radio silence from Renee over the last few weeks. Guess who's youngest daughter just had a birthday, and subsequently had a birthday party?)

We never would have discovered this problem if Renee hadn't spent this last year and a half getting disciplined about scheduling her writing time and tracking her productivity. With everything right on the calendar, the lapses and their cause became painfully clear.

So that is a plus, I suppose. Yay effective tracking data!

But, unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, this is a problem that falls well outside an Inner Editor's skill set. As much as it pains me to suggest it, I think I have to. . . agree with the Idea Salesman. We need a Project Manager.

And quickly. It's summertime and there's another family vacation on the schedule at the end of July. If we find ourselves losing track of things for several weeks again, we may never finish this book.

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