Dilemmas and Dead Ends

Of late, I’ve been dipping my feet a little into the Editing end of things.

Yes. Editing with a capital E. Heh.

I’m mostly a writer, but given how I’ve been working in an editorial environment for a good few years, I believe I have gleaned enough relevant wisdom to take on some small editing projects.

So I have mustered some courage and had a go at the smattering of editing roles that have landed in my lap in recent times. Can’t 100% say that I’ve always handled them well, but I do think that I gave each of them my best shot.

What I’m here to talk about, actually, is a terribly upsetting predicament that unfortunately seems to be a recurring theme in my editorial dealings.

You might wonder what exactly I’m going on and on about, my dear Reader.

Well, it’s simply this: So many people out there seem to be unwilling to pay a decent fee for editing services. Well, writing services too. Probably just any form of editorial services, I guess.

Now, I know I need to tread a bit carefully here as I discuss this topic.

Generally, I don’t like to talk about my paid writing gigs because I don’t think it’s particularly professional to quote experiences I have with clients (or potential ones). However, I’d like to say a little bit of something here because I think it’s a point worth bringing up.

With no mention of specific names or incidents… dear Reader, please tell me…

How is it you can spend thousands on a single inanimate object (like a smartphone, for example) and yet stinge so much on remunerating your (quite literally) poor writer/editor?

A smartphone costs thousands because so much effort went into sourcing and assembling all those tiny electronic components that, when put together, can work magic and mysteriously connect you to the rest of the universe as found on the World Wide Web.

Well, now. Let’s take a moment to consider this, shall we?

Just as much effort goes into sorting out your words from your sentences, rearranging your sentences into intelligible paragraphs, and building your paragraphs into a compelling story.

In fact, I think it’s highly probable that there are so many more words in your manuscript that require processing than the number of parts that you find in your average digital device.

But it’s alright, I suppose. Go invest your resources into those items that quickly depreciate over time.

Words written have the potential to be immortalised. To earn you a far reaching good reputation that might result in the wise things you said being quoted for generations to come.

Oh, but you don’t care, do you, my dear Reader? Forgive my sarcasm. Perhaps it’s just a temporary bad season for me.

Well, anyway, in case you might have been wondering about the title of this post…

Here’s the dilemma: Should fees that I’ve quoted for above mentioned editing tasks be lowered for the sake of accommodating the (somewhat unreasonable) demands of potential clients? Or should I let dead ends run their course since it’s good to do your work with dignity and to be paid what you’re worth?

Hmm.

Let me know what you think. Although I can wager a guess already as it is.

Talk

Sometimes, I just want to talk something out.

Because talking gives sense to words, and arranging words in sentences helps you process situations, people, ideas.

But apparently talking annoys people a lot. Maybe because they’d have to listen and it’s things they don’t want to hear.

Well, we’ve all got things we are uncomfortable about. But if we don’t say them… don’t try to let them fall out in broken sentences or imperfect words… then how will we resolve them?

It’s bothering me currently that often, many people I know prefer to sweep things under the carpet and let it fester for years and years instead of just bringing it up and talking about it.

Could it be that the simple solution lies in just having a conversation about it and just having the freedom to express whatever needs to be said?

But no. Far better to stick to only saying nice things, and to smooth out the rough edges, always berating the one who wants to discuss things.

That someone being me, of course.

I’ve always believed that there is a resolution for every difficult issue out there. But I’m coming to realise that this only true when all parties involved want to do something to make things better.

Anytime someone gives up or refuses to budge to change anything, then nothing will ever improve and you’ll have those circumstances where people come to terribly sad conclusions like “irreconcilable differences” and the like.

I think it’s really for a lack of determination to find a way, honestly. But it’s hard to change people. And people will always insist that you are the one who is wrong, though sometimes you might not actually be.

(That’s not to say I’m never wrong, just that it’s hard to put in a word if all others care about is pointing out who’s right/wrong rather than what was actually needed for the situation.)

I suppose it seems like I am speaking in riddles. Well, I can’t decide how much details I should write about on a public platform like this blog.

Oh, but this is my space. Perhaps I shouldn’t care as much.

What do you think, my dear reader? Should we bring out the closet skeletons? Might be fun for a bit, no?

Tomorrow

It’s my son’s birthday tomorrow.

It’s going to be a very different sort of celebration as we’re still confined by the conditions of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that is still ongoing in Malaysia, at least till the end of the month (or longer, depending on what the government decides).

I am a mixture of feelings. Generally speaking, a tangled mess of emotions.

First of all, we haven’t really done much to prepare for this occasion. (We barely made it to shop for some simple birthday gifts today).

Secondly, I feel sorry for my son, because he will not be getting the usual round of celebrations that most family birthdays call for: A meal with grandparents, a private celebration with us at home, and a birthday bash at school with his classmates and teachers.

All of that… not happening this time around.

He just has us. And we have him. (Oh, and our youngest son too, of course).

He isn’t complaining though. He’s already told us what kind of cake he wants and in what theme. He is at ease, confident, that having made his requests, it would be fulfilled in some measure tomorrow. He knows there will be a present, but even then, he didn’t make any specific demands about it.

He isn’t doubting in any way that there will be some form of birthday party tomorrow. Though, of course, my husband, our youngest son and I will be the only ones in attendance.

I guess at this young age he is still content with simple things.

Perhaps I shouldn’t despair as much as I am doing, and ought to laugh it off the way he does most of the time.

My crazy, happy-go-lucky boy version of Winnie The Pooh turns five tomorrow.

Maybe I should just let that be enough for now.

Never mind the new job that I’m barely coping with, and the mayhem and mess all throughout the home, and the fact that we are still uncertain about many things in the near future.

Tomorrow. I’ll have it all together tomorrow.

Small

I have tons of stories to tell. But I feel like they’re trivial.

While others have such grandiose topics to showcase their intelligence on, all I have are these tiny tales of things observed, discovered and experienced.

Having reached a midpoint of some sort in life, it gets harder by the day to convince myself that what I have in my head and heart counts for something.

It all seems so small.

Do I lack confidence? Not really. What I described is just a feeling, a sense of things; possibly right, mostly wrong.

What’s YOUR current view of life?

Do you see or feel what I have mentioned too?

Or perhaps you have moved onwards and upwards and have a better clue on what your life is amounting to and a greater discernment of what matters or doesn’t?

Continuity

I decided not to make a big deal out of the New Year this time around.

Typically, I would start journalling in a whole new notebook once the new year rolls in. But this time, I think I’ll just carry on at whatever random page I left off at last year.

Because I don’t want to waste the unused notebook pages. And maybe also because it would be a strikingly painful reminder each time I start off a new notebook how meagre my writing has become.

The kind of writing that fills up my private spaces. Not that commercial kind that I am forced to craft to help make ends meet.

It’s only been a few days into the New Year, but honestly, I feel it’s already gotten old. Or maybe it’s me that has.