Many years ago, I came across an interview with the late James Michener, the Pulitzer Prize winning author whose forty books have sold tens of millions of copies. In the interview, he was asked about the secret to his success. The essence of his answer, which has always stuck in my head, was this: I am a better editor than a writer.
I wish I had learned about the connection between editing and revising sooner. I fell in love with revision and realized that my passion is in helping other writers create their best work. Revising helped me realize that I want to work in the publishing industry; I just wish these connections were made clearer in high school. I would have realized my passion much sooner.
The process of publishing a book has many moving parts. The marketing team needs to be studying their audience while the copyeditors and fact-checkers are working on the manuscript. The design team is creating the perfect cover while the author is trying not to have their third mental breakdown. There’s a lot going on. Things are constantly moving, going, working. But when you’re looking at it as an archivist, when the work is done, everything is still.