When I was in my early thirties, I decided that I was going to be a writer. Every day for a month, I sat down at my desk, fired up the PS/2 and launched WordPerfect. I stared at the blinking cursor, my fingers poised and ready to tap out words for the ages. On the first day, I realized I had nothing interesting to say. The second day resembled the first—as did the third and the fourth. In the week that followed, I managed to produce a few prosaic sentences. After a month, I had composed a dozen pages. Unfortunately, they consisted mostly of these phrases: I don’t know what to write; Wow, I am really tired; I need some good ideas; I wonder what’s in the fridge; What time does Magnum P.I. come on?; I really don’t know what to write.
My career veered in a slightly different direction and I got a job as a proofreader. Eventually, I became a copy editor and then an editor for an in-house publication. Over the next 15 years, I edited a variety of monthly magazines, including a city business magazine startup, a short-lived regional lifestyle publication and an established national trade magazine. Tight deadlines and limited space made it vital to understand the audience, find the heart of the story quickly and say more with fewer words. It also meant I had to communicate clearly with writers or else spend precious time on multiple rewrites.
I later wrote and edited copy for a number of businesses and nonprofits. Along the way, I also learned graphic design and web development. One must evolve to survive. A few years ago, I stopped worrying about “being a writer” and just starting writing. Mostly short stories. I plan to self-publish some of them soon. I am also working on a couple of novels, which will be ready to publish….eventually.
I enjoy contemporary fiction and its many flavors. When I read for pleasure, though, I often turn to the works of authors who have already shuffled off their mortal coil. I continue to find nourishment in their stories. There is some value, I suppose, in studying the roots as well as the fruit.
I like to think that I am open to the full spectrum of artistic endeavor, though it is possible that I am just fooling myself. As for my editorial style, I will admit to being ambivalent about important things like Oxford commas. I am also not offended when a preposition is left stranded. Prepositions may be small, but they can fend for themselves. I like stories that resonate. A unique voice. Strong characters. A compelling narrative. We can undangle the participles as we go.
Adidas’ current tagline is a quote from Muhammad Ali: Impossible is nothing. Their previous one was, Everything that is essential. Nothing that isn’t. The former is great advice for a writer. The latter, while not nearly as zippy, is a pretty good guide for an editor. And that is my approach. And yes, I just started two sentences in a row with the word ‘and.’
Contact my brother Steve if you’re interested in the all new Tim/Steve Combo Platter editing service. Meanwhile, be sure to visit my new website, www.theglintoflight.com I look forward to the possibility of working with you.