The Perks of This Work 1

Posted February 8th, 2012 in Random by Emily Varner

The last few months have been a rather wild ride, as you can tell by the lack of posts since October. I’ve been charging though numerous new personal tasks but also keeping busy publicizing books. But unfortunately I’ve had to turn down some editing gigs, which I really hate doing because the work is so great. It’s like taking a mini-independent study course on some very interesting topic I know comparatively nothing about. Copyediting is a chance to dig deep where I usually only scratch the surface. And often it’s a chance to make someone really smart sound even better than they did at the start. At the end of a copyediting project, I’m “up” (if it only really lasts a few months) on the prominent primary source documents for a particular discipline, the classic works on a defined topic, and the various schools of thought related to that topic. I have an opinion on something I might not have considered before, and I can have a conversation about something new.

But all the aspects of the work I do–even the “scratch the surface” ones–include similar perks. I get to try on the thoughts and ideas of others, see how they sit with me, what other resonances I find with them. In the long run I might not agree wholeheartedly with the position of an author whose book I publicize, but at the same time I don’t take the book on unless I think it makes a valuable contribution to current (or perennial) Christian conversations. That is, the books I work with are worthy of consideration, legitimate contributions to the world of ideas.

And that’s what I mean about the perks. My brain is wired to swim in ideas, to weigh their value, to introduce them to others. It took a while for me to learn that, but I have been a much happier and productive person since figuring it out.

In the next post I’ll turn to the “perks” of taking up this kind of work on a part-time, freelance basis.



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