Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's Editing -- Not Magic

Ugh. I just got an email from a student, saying she'd been unhappy with my editing because her text was still awkward, in her opinion. She did acknowledge that she'd rushed me on the project; I agreed with that and reminded her that I'd asked her to return the paper to me after her advisor reads it, so I can re-edit it as many times as needed until she and her advisor are happy with it.

But I find myself wondering if I'm doing a crummy job, or if some people just expect miracles. I lean toward the latter, naturally. Obviously I can't completely rewrite people's papers for ethical and practical reasons, and a writer's voice will have to prevail if the advisor is going to accept the work and not think the student paid someone to write the thing. I'm perplexed and a bit annoyed, because this student specifically asked me to edit her paper in much less time than I'd otherwise spend on it (a couple of days for a 112-page dissertation, when normally I'd allow about a week), and because I told her when I sent the work back that it would require at least another edit, for which I would not charge! I specifically said that all revisions/re-edits are included in the original price quote. So now she tells me that she had to make additional changes to her paper because it hadn't seemed changed "that much" after I got through with it and she "couldn't send it to [her] advisor that way." Huh? I thought it was a well written paper and I understood it just fine.

Unhappy clients aren't the norm, and although I want to learn from criticism and fix any problems with my work, I hadn't thought my work was problematic in this case, so the disconnect bugs me.

Okay, I'm done now. More work awaits.