“Forget your inner editor.” It’s something I’ve heard around NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) every year. And at some point, I thought that that fact just meant to ignore those thoughts of wanting to change the past things you’ve written right then and there.
But I’ve discovered a new curse that I think might be even more relevant than the developmental editor in me that is constantly working while I’m writing.
The copyeditor in me is really going to drive me up a wall.
I have found myself unable to look at anything (books, menus, the backs of bags, my own short hand notes) without considering the grammatical structures that I am obeying or ignoring. It happens with signs that I see in the store or on the bus. It’s just something that never goes away.
I’m sure that many editors and writers see the same things that I do. They look at that sign about the sale and they see awkward writing or a shift in tone that shouldn’t have happened if they really wanted to get me to buy something.
So how do you cope with this? How can you read a book without driving yourself absolutely insane?
I haven’t found this secret yet. I am constantly plagued by the fact that I want to fix the errors that I see on Facebook and knowing that it isn’t my place to fix them. At times, I have to sit myself down before I open up Tumblr or Facebook and tell myself that I’m not reading for grammatical issues. I’m reading for content. And when I do that, I can sit down with a book for a couple of hours and forget about the editing until I stumble across an error that is just a little too obvious.
And maybe this hyper-vigilant mindset will go away once I’ve finally got a job or two in editing and I don’t want to think about it once I’m off the clock. But until then, my mind is a constant mess of editing marks on every written word I see.