How do you concentrate on more than one book at once?

❓’How do you stop yourself getting drawn into the novel and staying in the proofreading zone?’

Screenshot of my LinkedIn answer to the question: checklists and where I read — on the computer or on my Kindle

I was asked this question on LinkedIn the other day when I said I was proofreading a thriller, and it got me thinking…

I find it pretty straightforward to compartmentalise what I’m reading.

I always have several books on the go for a variety of reasons.

And it’s funny because if you asked me specifically where I was up to/what was going on, there’d be a bit of scrabbling round.

But as soon as I get the book in my hand, or on the screen, or in my ear, I’m right back in there.

I can immediately remember what’s happening. And I can remember exactly where I was (physically) when I read the last sentence.

My brain does a smooth segue.

Like yesterday I was doing the school run and popped in my headphones for the walk up.

My brain immediately went to Morrison’s petrol station which was where I was when I pressed pause on my book last time.

And, even though the narrator was in the middle of an anecdote — about some kids told not to play with this fancy robot toy — I remembered exactly what had been said before.

No problem. No: ‘Eh, what’s he on about…?’

And I think I probably have teaching to thank for this.

17 years of having multiple books on the go. Multiple extracts. You pick up the book and you have to immediately recap and put into context what you’re reading. ‘So, if you remember last time, Year 10…’

And all the years I’ve been in the classroom, I’ve still read for pleasure in my own time. It doesn’t stop my need to unwind with a book even though I’ve been with books all day.

And, luckily, this same thing works now I’ve retrained as a proofreader and an editor. Now I have a new career direction.

I work with books (with texts, with manuscripts, with copy) all day. Yet, I’ll still sit and have a lunch break reading my Kindle. I’ll still read a book in the bath at night. I’ll still put on an audiobook in the car, or while I’m washing up, or walking up to school to pick up my son.

I pretty much eat, sleep and dream books. Or, to be more literal, I work, walk and wash to/with/on books. Mix and match these prepositions and get the right ones or else I sound destructive and weird!

It’s always been about the books.

It’s always been about the story.

It’s always been about the words.

Currently reading:

  • For work (proofreading): an indie thriller
  • For work (editing): an indie fantasy
  • For CPD (listening to): ‘Influence’ by Robert B. Cialdini
  • For leisure (reading on my Kindle): ‘The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club’ by Faith Hogan
  • For my second job (teaching): ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare, ‘Buddy’ by Nigel Hinton and ‘Noughts and Crosses’ — playscript — Dominic Cooke’s adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s novel

Two careers, but one key thread.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday = Cherry Edits days
Thursday, Friday = teaching days

Published by clairecherryedits

CherryEdits.com Proofreading | copyediting indie fiction. Ask about my popular proof-editing service. CIEP IM.

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