Am I a closet perfectionist?

How to get cool in Adelaide when it's 30degrees on the plains.

How to get cool in Adelaide

I have finally finished a small edit job for an academic, although I’ve been tweaking it for a week. Sure, with editing for professional journal article acceptance you DO have to get the formatting very close to the journal’s specification and that can be hard on the eyes, what with ascertaining when the right bits are bolded or italicised or whatever. Then there’s the punctuation- are all the “;” things actually this way, or are some of them accidentally “:”?? I like these aspects to be correct, even though it can take ages because it is impossible to automate some of them due to the rules of which punctuation marks are permitted with spaces and which aren’t! With the text content, it’s sometimes hard for me to get my head around what the authors are saying. They ARE specialists, and usually not the same sort as me- I like psychological health-related stuff and medical terminology. The current topic is career development- it has psychological sorts of terms, but used in an idiosyncratic way; so I have to look very carefully at the sentence structures to understand what they trying to convey. Sometimes I’m sure I’m quite up the creek- the authors send back annoyed comments saying I removed all their favourite hyphens or whatever! This time, the terms were very convoluted and self referential and the analysis looked at all sorts of reflexive interactions, making the meaning even more abstruse! Now- is all this concentration on my part on “getting it right” mere perfectionism, or is it a demand of the job? I procrastinate until late in the day once I have made a start on the editing whether it is for my own work of for someone else. I insist on going over things in printed versions as well as on the screen and I usually feel a bit hesitant about sending off the presumably completed version. Eighty percent of my uni assignments are sent in at the last possible minute, either because I have procrastinated over finishing them, or because I have terrible doubts about whether I have actually answered the question! These days I try not to get too perfectionistic about the logic of assignments and the way the sentences fit together- I just try to get the meaning across and not spend time on amendments- often reflected in lecturers’ comments and the final marks. However, I have less “anxiety” over the finished product if I just resolve to finish at a certain TIME rather than to some internalised acceptable standard! So- am I a perfectionist or not?? Who knows- the Shadow knows…

4 thoughts on “Am I a closet perfectionist?

  1. I think we all have a hint of self doubt about our own work, even if others tell us it’s excellent. You always look at what you’ve done and wonder if it will be good enough – but you must just bite the bullet and send it off, even if you’re not sure – if they’ve liked it in the past, and you’re getting more work, chances are you’re doing something right πŸ˜€

  2. From what you say, I think you are a recovering perfectionist. It sounds like you are learning not to overdo it, and of course that means you become a calmer editor, still with high standards.

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