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Katharine O'Moore-Klopf

Right on! I find, regarding point 4, that rock 'n' roll works well for wake-up-the-brain-and-body dancing breaks, while baroque instrumental music gets me more deeply into the editing zone. Your music choices will vary according to your generation and personality.

Montana Mary

I weep with joy every time I read your blog. It's so good to know someone else has been there, is there, or knows how to avoid it altogether.

nj smith

Lovely tactics! Regarding the index in point 3: Besides editing work, I spent some time as a freelance indexer. Freelance indexers are in a position closely related to the copy editor's. It's your job to help the author achieve the clearest presentation possible without killing either the author or yourself. Freelance indexers spend a lot of time educating their author-clients; sometimes it doesn't take. So, if their vision for the work makes a modicum of sense, you focus on how to improve their preferred presentation. Of course, when a publisher won't provide or hire an indexer, the author often prefers to do it herself rather than to spend their own money to hire a skilled freelancer. (After all, it's easy to make an index with your favorite word processor--it says so on the help screen. Ich.)

Samantha Enslen

I find the following items help quite a bit with motivation: (1) Dairy Queen Heath Bar Blizzard; (2) Wendy's Frosty; (3) Breyers' Cookies n' Cream; and (4) Ben n' Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk.

I break out the B&J only a couple of times a year, when I need no-holds-barred, serious motivation for the longest and most onerous of tasks.

George Ernsberger

Typically wise and useful advice, and the funniest first line in the history of western literature.


Also: remember that you get paid by the hour.


Mine is Lindt chocolate bars (the darker the better). I buy them when they're two for $5 at the grocery across the street, and break them out (one square at a time) when the going gets rough. Yesterday I sent a guy 48 queries about a 5K-word journal article. It was a four-squares-of-chocolate day. :P

@brooklyn codger - if only! Freelancers do, but for those of us who toil in-house, a job that takes twice as long as we expected just leaves less time for the next job.

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