Thursday, November 29, 2007

Everything in its place

I'm getting a real sense of my new work routine. Last week's schedule was all messed up because of Thanksgiving, but now I have regular hours--1 to 5 p.m. every day--and I'm getting settled in to the best way to spend that time. I have a good organization system in place, too: different colored stickers for different publication months (Mar/Apr/May are blue/green/red and then it repeats, since I rarely have four months' worth of books to deal with at once) so that I can tell when a book is coming out and make sure my drops* are sorted by pub month without having to open each book and check, yellow stickers for "review received", checkmarks in the yellow stickers when I've edited the review, little folded paperweights with month names written on them for the stacks of books sent out for review, more little folded paperweights that say THIS WEEK and NEXT WEEK and TWO WEEKS for future drops, a shelf for the drops from last week (now being edited onscreen) and the week before (now in layout), and a spreadsheet that runs my life tracks which reviews are out and when they're due and which reviewers don't have any assignments right now and also archives the year's drops in a convenient format so that I can easily copy and paste them into the magazine-wide weekly archive of copyright data. It all works very smoothly and makes me happy.

* Drop == the week's batch of reviews. No more than 10, no fewer than five. This time of year, a drop is usually six reviews; not much coming out in Feburary.

Next week I have five meetings in four days, which will make things interesting; I'll have to edit at a slightly faster pace than I did this week. I finished this week's drop today, and it's unofficially not due until tomorrow and officially not due until Monday, so I'm ahead of the game; but next week I have another six-book drop plus two or three notes about interesting January publications that don't get full reviews for whatever reason--things like major new editions of classics, or biographies of SF/F/H authors, or reader's guides--and I'm trying to give my reviewers line-by-line breakdowns of my edits so that they understand why I make the choices I do and can write reviews that need less editing, so I may have to push a bit to make it all happen. That's okay, though. I thrive on deadline pressure. *grin*

Some week when I have a little more free time, I should write up a post or three about how the PW system works, in general. I'm always surprised by how little people know about it. It's not like it's a big secret. I mean, yes, we try to maintain an aura of Olympian aloofness, but I think it's to our benefit--or to mine, anyway--if publishers and authors and agents know what goes on here and what to expect.

It feels very good to be regaining my mental equilibrium. My manager may make fun of me because I'm so enthusiastic about getting to be in the office every day**, but really, it's doing wonders for my state of mind.

** Excerpt from yesterday's department meeting:

Me: Mm... I don't really like that idea.
Boss: Well, I'm sorry, Rose, but people who enjoy being in the office five days a week don't get to state their opinions.


Other editor: I think they're hoping--
Boss: How do you know?
Other editor: Because I know everyone's hopes and dreams. It's my job. Associate Hopes and Dreams Editor.

I love working here, have I mentioned? The kidding is enough to keep people on their toes, but there's never any animosity under it. We just don't see any reason to be serious all the time.