Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I breathe easier

It is accomplished.

The writing project is finished, but unlike with previous projects I've done for this publishing company, it wasn't done on time. I was able to turn in half my work on the day it was due, but once the week began, I was slower at turning in the other half. I had been given the task of writing up six chapters of a 28-chapter reading textbook for children. The task had originally involved only five chapters, but one person had to drop out of the project for personal reasons. That meant more work for me, which in turn meant more pay.

I don't think I'd realized how involved the work would be. While there wasn't much per-page text to worry about, we had to abide by some strict formatting considerations. Part of our work involved hunting down appropriate clip art from a site called Shutterstock; we had to take down the serial numbers of the images and place them onto the pages we were working on. Shutterstock's images are all heavily tagged and searchable, but sometimes, if your search string is either too vague or too "popular," you end up sifting through hundreds or even thousands of images. That happened to me repeatedly, which added to the time-consumptive nature of my work. As we wrote up each article, we also had to confirm that what we had written was within a 5th-grade level, which meant copying and pasting our passages into a particular website (try it!) to determine our text's word count, average sentence length, and Flesch-Kincaid grade level. An F-K rating of over 5.0 meant going back and simplifying the passage, then re-running it through the readability program. All this, plus comprehension questions, puzzles, and answer keys, made for a lot of work.

In the end, though, my Seoul liaison was a good sport and said she wouldn't penalize me for lateness (in fact, some other writers were late, too). The work itself, while requiring attention to detail, was never tedious, and I'll be getting a decent chunk of change sometime after the 20th of the month. I'm very thankful to Z for providing the work.

So I can breathe a sigh of relief for now. The project is done, except for the possibility of minor tweaks requested by the Seoul office. I'm now waiting for the arrival of a much larger job-- a proofing job that promises to be fascinating work. In the meantime, I'm finally free to kick back and watch my iTunes copy of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." At long last.

But not tonight. It's after 2AM, and I have no intention of staying up until 4AM, the illustrious Gary Oldman notwithstanding.


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