It’s been a while since I’ve gone to school, but I just received my first homework assignment in…heck, over a decade.
(Ugh. I shouldn’t have calculated that.)
At any rate, I’m taking a class for the first time in a while: Joeli Caparco’s Tech Editing course. I was interested in the course from the first time I heard of it, more for what she didn’t promise than what she did. Joeli’s very clear in the course description as to what students can expect to get out of the course, including that you can’t just finish her class and call yourself a tech editor. I appreciated that she was so upfront with no over-promising.
What was holding me back was the price – approximately $100 in US dollars. Not that it’s not a perfectly fair price for a 6-week tech editing course from an experienced tech editor, because it is, but because I don’t currently have any intention of becoming a tech editor myself.
Right now you’re probably thinking, “Uh…then why are you taking the class?”
I really want to have a better understanding of the tech editing process. I’ve worked with several tech editors now, so I know how it works from my side, but I think the more I know about their side, the better my pattern writing will be and the better my relationships with tech editors will be. I follow a couple tech editors on Twitter (Joeli included), and I’ve seen the occasional tweet about frustrating designers who are hard to work with and/or turn in some painfully bad work. I don’t want to be the inspiration for one of those!
And, let’s be honest: the better my initial pattern is, the cheaper tech editing will be for me in the long run, because tech editors charge for their time and the fewer errors and more clarity my pattern has to start, the less time editing will take. But I’m certainly not taking this course to be my own tech editor. Only a fool has himself for a lawyer, and I think the same holds true for designers trying to be their own tech editors. I know that I’m a lot better at proofing someone else’s work than my own, and while I’m happy to say that most of my patterns that have been tech edited haven’t had glaring errors or required a lengthy back-and-forth, not one has been error-free.
(Full disclosure: none of my free patterns have been tech edited except No Capes!, published by Petite Purls, but all of my for-sale patterns have been except Bowling Shirt Polo – it has been knitted by others but will be tech edited after a rewrite.)
Tech editing costs money (as it should), and yes, it can be hard to swallow spending that money, especially as a fairly new designer who is just starting out and hasn’t sold many patterns…but I’ve had to look on it as an investment. If my first patterns are full of errors that a tech editor could have caught and corrected, no one’s going to buy my later patterns either. And once I codified for myself how I felt about tech editing, I knew I had to look at this class as another investment.
Of course, no one told me investments would come with homework…which I should get cracking on. I do feel like I’m back in school – I have homework, and here I am using the need to write a new blog post as an excuse to procrastinate. Heck, I’ll probably get a couple designs done between now and the due date, and find myself pulling an all-nighter on my assignment, just like my old school days…
(Just kidding, Professor Joeli! I promise!)