❓ What are the power tools of your industry?
Please expect lots of DIY analogies this week as I decorate my son’s room. We’ve gone right back to the bare bones and have had the room re-plastered. As the plaster dries, I’ve been getting on with sanding woodwork for some other jobs that need doing around the house.
It struck me that 20 years ago this summer, I was moving into my first home. 20 years ago this summer, I was ‘improving’ a room which the previous occupant had painted orange – by painting it purple! (All over. Not just a feature wall. The whole thing! I was 19, for context.) 20 years ago, I was preparing skirting boards for painting, but it was just me, a sheet of sandpaper and a sanding block.
20 years on from there, I have technology to help me do the job better and more efficiently.
My smoother skirting boards can be likened to my smoother editing. And, there too, tools have helped me make improvements. (Seamless segue?!)
The power tools for my industry include an up-to-date version of Microsoft Word (as an absolute must). PerfectIt software – which I managed for a long time without – now, I wouldn’t be without it. My copy of NODWE, New Hart’s Rules and other reference texts are a must. Google – yep, that’s a tool I’m constantly using for one thing and another. Two monitors – it’s my second year working with two and, gosh, what a difference. And, increasingly, a pair of headphones. An audio pass of manuscripts makes for fantastic quality assurance.
I’ve come into the publishing industry at a time where these power tools are readily available and I am grateful for them. They don’t supersede the human skills and knowledge needed to be a good editor/proofreader. Nothing can replace an editor/proofreader’s training, knowledge of context or awareness of nuance.
But I am glad I’m not slogging away with purely elbow grease and a desire to knock a few rough edges off things.
A combination of training, experience and tools for the job makes for a professional finish.
❓What are the power tools in your industry?