Until you just can’t anymore

I’m kind of exhausted this morning after a very long day yesterday, but this is really the only time of the day I’ll have to write something, so here it is. I’ll be leaving for class in about an hour and a half and then won’t be home until midnight since I’m going to a show (which will be show #7) shortly after my class that ends at 8 p.m.

So last night, my aforementioned long day. I may have mentioned somewhere in a previous entry that I was working on a fact-checking package for my story for the Ryerson Review of Journalism. I had to make some suggested changes yesterday, and it was a lot, To give you an idea of how daunting this task was, my story itself is nearly 5000 words, and with footnotes accompanying each fact on the story it has swelled to over 20 pages. And then there’s my Document File, which holds all transcripts and links to documents, which sits at a hefty 70 pages. I’ve basically just written a fact-checking children’s novel with the length I’m at.

The process of adding to my already enormous fact-checking file was excruciating, because it involved finding sources for every little bit of information I hadn’t previous marked and then adding in new file names to an already-crowded list of files. I found myself flipping between three documents so often that I several times got confused and tried to edit the page of suggested changes (as opposed to my own annotated copy).

In third year I took a course on copy editing, a course that I’m glad I took because I did learn some very valuable lessons about style and grammar, among other things. But one of the other most important things was as follows. Occasionally we would have an editing test, which would involve us copy editing a story, either by cutting its length or just for correcting spelling and grammatical errors. My professor at the time wisely gave us this advice: don’t spend too long looking over the edits you make. The longer you spend, the more you’re going to start making mistakes.

I’ve found that to be pretty true. With this fact-checking package, I would find myself bewildered when I found that changes that I’d made weren’t showing up. Of course, this was hours into my correcting process and eventually I’d realize that the reason my changes weren’t showing up was because I was, again, looking at the file of suggestions. Doing the same thing for hours on end has a way of numbing the brain into thinking it’s seeing things that aren’t there.

At some point in my life I was what some people might call a teacher’s pet, and so in school I would studiously work through things to get them done quickly. But I really do see the value in just taking a break every once in a while. It does wonders for you brain, if nothing else, and we all want to have a happy brain. Pretty sure.

Torontonians, enjoy the rainy but warm Wednesday.


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