I have had a really quite traumatic experience in the last few months. I had sent a shawl pattern to a tech editor for – tech editing. The alarm bells should have sounded when it came back with only the first few pages reviewed and suggestions for more and more clarity in the instructions. I did my best, re-did the charts, included more and more detail in the instructions and then re-wrote the whole thing in a different format.
The pattern moved back and forth for a few weeks. In total seven versions of the pattern were done – most of them with drastic changes. This lasted three months. At the end of October, I sent what I thought was a near final version. I was wrong there was a slight mistake. It took two weeks to come back highlighting the mistake. I corrected it and sent it straight back. Since then I had one email saying that they had ‘only just seen it’ and after that, nothing. What I suspected, and was in fact the case, was that the pattern was beyond their ability to edit.
We all have competences and I am sure we have all, at some point, agreed to work that we couldn’t produce. I just wish that this person had admitted to themselves and to me earlier that this was the case. My working life has been spent with adults with special needs and those with the most complex needs. When working with this client group, it is a sign of strength and awareness to acknowledge that you are not coping and need help. In all I have spent 6 months chasing this and it could have been done and finished well before Christmas.
It is important to manage expectations for both yourself and for others. It is not a sign of weakness to also acknowledge that at this point ‘I can’t do this’.
I am in total awe of the work that Tech Editors do and I suppose some of this was included in my reluctance to acknowledge what was obviously happening. My best wishes go to all of them – including this one.