There are two things I spend most of my time doing…well…three, possibly four if you count sleeping and waiting on the dogs. Mostly though, I spend my energy in two directions: playing the bass and copyediting.
Copyediting…that’s a real word?
Sort of. Copyedit is in the dictionary, so copyediting is just the active use of that skill. At its most basic level, copyediting is checking a document for punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc., and back before the dawn of time when I wrote my homework assignments on loose-leaf paper, corrections were made by the teacher in red pen. Hence the association. Copyediting can be a much more robust process than simple proofreading, but that’s essentially where it begins.
What does that have to do with playing the bass?
On the surface, nothing. They’re two discrete activities. But I can make a case for a relationship between the two if you like.
Though it’s possible to build a song around a bass line (see ‘Another One Bites the Dust,), and it’s possible to have a solo bassist (see the amazing Steve Lawson), most often a bass line is a supportive part of a greater compositional whole.
The song. A good bass line makes the song better, without taking away from the core idea on which the song is based. Similarly, good copyediting compliments and enhances a piece of content without changing the central theme or idea.
That’s pretty thin.
Okay, try this: bass and copyediting are like bacon - they make everything better.
That’s really it. Those are the two main focuses of my professional life. What has changes is that at the age of thirty-eight, I’ve decided to do both on my own terms. I’ve been editing in one form or another for close to fifteen years, with the majority of that being in either an institutional or corporate setting as a component of a larger role. After a recent illness during which I was on leave from work I had a great deal of time at home to reflect on the direction in which I’d been going. I’ve come to the conclusion that I can offer much more in the way of client-focused service as an independent contractor.
One of my biggest complaints about my last position was the tendency of management to add things to my plate that had very little, if anything, to do with the job for which I’d been hired. Seems pretty standard, right? Many companies downsized during the recession and some roles were bundled together under conveniently nebulous titles like ‘content manager’ or ‘process coordinator.’ It worked for a while, and then as productivity rebounded the amount of work intensified, as did the likelihood that one of the many managers would find something almost, but not completely unrelated to add to the ever-growing pile of work. When your title is squishy there’s all kinds of room to cram in a bunch of extra nonsense and call it ‘role development’ or ‘career pathing,’ though I often found the net result to be a growing lack of clarity as to what my role actually was. Hard to prioritize one’s tasks when one is not sure who the highest-priority client is on any given day. My solution is to go into business for myself.
Well, that should be a cakewalk. I’m sure the demands of running your own business won’t distract you in the least.
It’s a consideration, to be sure, but there’s a mindset change I’ve noticed in myself that doesn’t chunk the tremendous amount of effort involved with starting and running my own business into the same bucket as working for another company.
So you’re going to play bass and proofread?
Simultaneously? No, although I used to occasionally catch myself spell-checking the ‘Specials’ board during the last set at a weekly Friday night bar gig I used to have. You do strange things to power through at 1:30 in the morning.
You’re going to plug your current band now, aren’t you?
Of course. I’m privileged to hold down the low end (see what I did there?) for the J.O.B. Our current single, ‘Messenger’ has been in the top 40 of the Adult Contemporary charts for about five weeks now. I’m incredibly proud of it and I’d be grateful if you’d click through to the band site and take a listen.
That’s all for right now. Special thanks to my subconscious for chiming in with questions.