Freelance editor-speak

blue sky crop
Blue-sky thinking, plus iconic bridge

This is kind of like office-speak (you know: flagging things, touching base and blue-sky thinking) … but with more pyjamas.

What we say What we mean
Yeah, I’m getting on really well with it. Your text is still attached to an unopened email halfway down my inbox with a pathetic little yellow star next to it, rebuking me.
Skype is a great idea. Let’s face it, I really did need to rid the bookshelves behind my desk of all fifteen empty coffee cups; I was running out of drinking vessels. Also, I could do with a reminder now and then to brush my hair. Are there crumbs on my pyjamas?
It’ll be with you by the end of Thursday. I’m just not going to sleep, eat or go to the toilet until then.
Of course I can come and work in-house for a day. Will I have to change out of my pyjamas? Can I talk to myself?
I’m just downloading it now. I’m just having a coffee/picking up a child from school/painting my nails/going for a run/frantically trying to finish another job.
Let me see if I can fit it in. A million times, yes.
Let me see if I can fit it in. Not on your life. [I am English.]
That’s a quite a bit less than I would usually charge for this. Do you have any idea how long I have been doing this job, how good I am at it, and how many bills I have to pay? You have got to be joking.
Of course it’s OK that you have rejected all my changes and reverted to the original document. Let me just run into the other room, close all the doors, wrap myself in a duvet, lie down on the floor and scream.
Perhaps you should find another editor. Because I am not touching this with a bargepole.
Yes. No, not really, but I am not quite sure how to tell you. [As I said, I am English.]
No problem! Aaaargh! (Can I put my pyjamas back on now?)

Photo on 02-09-2015 at 13.12Liz Jones has worked as an editor in the publishing industry since 1998, and has been freelance since 2008. She tries to say exactly what she means most of the time, which is part of the reason she is freelance.

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