A Frustrating Finale

Today was a hard, hard day. The main bright spot was my adorable tutoring student this morning. She is so excited about the books she is reading!

This afternoon I had my final meeting with my editing client. It didn’t go well. I thought I had finally made all the changes he wanted, but I was wrong. Despite the fact that I donated many extra hours to this project, I still failed to format the citations the way he wanted (there are hundreds of them). I thought I was a detail person, but I’ve never seen anyone as obsessed with minutia as this person. And when he saw my bill, he was very unhappy, as I knew he would be. Editing a scholarly work is quite different and more time-consuming than editing fiction, and knowing this, as I said, I put in many hours for free—but it still came to quite a bit more than he had expected or planned on.

So, the upshot is that he is not willing to pay for more of my time, and is planning to enlist his daughter to finish revising the citations. I sent him a document detailing how to do this. But I feel terrible. I can’t think of any past job where I simply failed to achieve what I set out to do. If I thought I could somehow eventually please him, I would have offered to do all the remaining work for free—but I don’t think I am capable of achieving that, because it would basically require me to read his mind. Maybe his daughter will be better at that.

He did finally pay me (after seven months of work) but there was no joy in depositing that check, knowing my work hadn’t been satisfactory to him. From now on, I will stick to editing fiction.

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