Thursday, March 18, 2021

SOL March 18: Substitute Copy Editor

I freelance copy edit for the magazine I retired from as managing editor. Copy editing is the part of the job I really love, so when I decided to stop working full-time, we arranged for me to continue to the (for me) fun part of the job, at first on an occasional project basis, then for the past couple of years about eight hours a week. Occasionally, I agree to sub for the staff copy editor or the current managing editor, when they take days off or go on vacation.

            Last week I agreed to sub today for the other copy editor. I had my usual three hours of work, but there were news articles that needed reading, and they ended up occupying way more time than I expected.

            One story was written by the news editor, who really has no one who edits him, so I was essentially his editor as well as copy editor. This meant I had to pay attention to the overall purpose of the piece along with the details. Even though 75% of the piece consisted of quotes, there was still a lot of thinking involved. That’s what took so much time. I did have one good editorial suggestion, an anecdote near the end of the story that really needed to be near the top; it was funny and leavened the seriousness of most of the piece.

            Because I had to work so many more hours than I’d thought, I wasn’t able to go out for a walk or get in my stretches and exercise. Well, it was raining all day, so I wouldn’t have gone out anyway. Maybe I’ll think more carefully next time I’m asked to substitute.


I’m participating in the 14th annual Slice of Life Challenge over at Two Writing Teachers. This is day 18 of the 31-day challenge.  It’s not too late to make space for daily writing in a community that is encouraging, enthusiastic, and eager to read what you have to slice about.  Join in!




  1. I can certainly relate to having something take up way more time than you thought it would. I hope the rain stopped today so you can get out and go for a walk.

    1. i never did get out yesterday, but today I two longish walks and got more than 12,000 steps. Even though it was cold and windy, the sun was shining and it felt really good.