Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the difference between copy editing and writing

Having settled into my new copy editing position at H&G, I found myself comparing how different it is to the writing position I had at Horizons and khuluma.
I do still write of course – Travel pages for H&G and this blog and other tidbits – but spend most days editing, and so here is a list of comparisons for these two roles in the magazine industry:

As a writer, I have the ability to churn out stories while hungover and sometimes produce the best stuff with a glass of wine in hand – this is what I at least believe... until I reread those stories in the light of sober day.
As a copy editor, my hungover lazy-eye doesn't do so well with spotting mistakes, and I only copy edit during working hours, so I wouldn't dare bring wine to work (while my colleagues will notice)
Churning out a winning piece of writing gives me a thrill.
Spotting a crucial mistake just before we go to print – that could have resulted in condescending comments from other copy editor friends – gives me a jolt of adrenaline.
As a writer, if you write a crap story (or if your editor wants you to change the angle etc), you have to do it again and again until its right.
As a copy editor, you have to edit crap stories and read them again and again until they are right.
To face a complicated brief I need a strong cup of coffee
To edit complicated pieces of writing in a brief amount of time, I need a strong cup of coffee
As a writer, I spend time waiting for people to get back to me with information and images.
As a copy editor, I spend time waiting for writers to send in their info and images.

So really... there are loads of similarities.... and I'm bored of making these comparisons now. So back to real work... that pays

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