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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Reflections on editing Joy, Interrupted

Just an upfront note--I still have the self-imposed deadline of announcing a launch note of Nov. 30.  One thing I have discovered about myself in the course of writing a dissertation is that I need the structure of self-imposed deadlines.  Additionally, I realize that contributors are anxious to know when the anthology will be published.  It puts some added pressure on me; but in a way it is a good thing, because it means that people are eager to see the anthology in its entirety and, perhaps, start promoting it.

In the meanwhile, I wanted to share some of the reflections I have had in editing the anthology.

There have been personal reasons the launch has been delayed.  As some people may already know, I have been dealing with health issues, in particular related to fertility.  Anyone who has had similar issues may understand what an emotional toll this takes on a person.  Additionally, I am defending my dissertation in a few weeks.  I don't know if anybody who hasn't written one really knows what a disciplined and harrowing endeavor  it is.  The fertility issues delayed my work on the dissertation, and, since my dissertation's defense was pretty much set in stone, I had to make it a priority over editing the anthology.

To complicate matters, many of you know that I have a chronic mental illness.  It is managed quite carefully by medication, but also with certain types of self-care.  Stress is one of the largest triggers for any episode, and, obviously, I have had a lot of that in the last few months!  Luckily, I haven't had any major flare up of symptoms, but mainly because I have been pacing myself very diligently.

Some people have grumbled about the delay of the launch, and one person actually withdrew their contribution.  I think my silence about my personal reasons for the delay may have contributed to some people's misgivings about the project coming to fruition.  Many other people have been quite compassionate about the delay, which I am extremely grateful for.

I haven't opened up much about the personal reasons about the launch because I felt discussing them might be a distraction and because I just wasn't ready to talk about my difficulties.  I am still not wanting to share much about the details of these stresses, but I am opening up a bit because I want everyone to realize that I have not lost my passion or commitment to this project.

Another more pertinent reason for the delay of the launch is that editing this anthology is very difficult psychologically, much more so than I anticipated.  It is slow going--I can only focus on one or two pieces of week, and I have over sixty contributors, many with multiple works.  I believe that the psychological difficulty speaks to the quality of the contributions.  They are moving in ways that I don't think I have had the opportunity to witness in many other books.

Additionally, I feel a deep sense of responsibility in doing justice to these contributions.  They each are like delicate jewels I am trying to protect.  This also speaks to the potential quality of the anthology.

So, in this next stretch of finishing the editing process, I will be reaching out for some help in order to get this project launched.  Some of you I will be contacting privately in the next couple of months to followup on particular offers to help.  More generally, I ask that if any contributor wants to help, give me or month or so, and then I will be open to hearing ideas.  Additionally, I will need some help with fundraising efforts.  Right now we are being fueled by the little amount of used books we sell and the royalties of previous works.  In the long run, we will need much more...if people want to make suggestions on our facebook page, this would be a great way to help me!

Editor, Joy, Interrupted

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