The lighter side of editing

The lighter side of editing

Thursday, October 13, 2016

One Editor’s Work Space

What can you find on an editor’s desk? Depends on the editor. Who cares what you can find on an editor’s desk? Other editors, mostly, because we are an inquisitive (nosy) lot. You never know when you might see one editor doing or using something brilliant that would work for you too. After years of adapting myself to inadequate and uncomfortable work spaces, I finally invested in one that works for me. Here it is:

Photo of desk with dual computer monitors.
Photo 1. The general work area.

  1. Dual monitors on fully adjustable monitor arms. How did I ever live without dual monitors? See below to find out how I use them.
  2. Sit/stand desk. Expensive but worth it, because this is where I spend my life. It’s an UPLIFT Desk from the Human Solution, by the way. Love it, love it, love it.
  3. Ergonomic keyboard. An absolute must. This one is a Kinesis Freestyle 2, plus the numeric keypad and an accessory kit.
  4. Balance-ball seating. I find this much more comfortable—and fun—than a chair. No, I’ve never fallen off, though I’ve come close a few times due to too much bouncing and/or rolling.
  5. Laptop stand that I use to hold books. I love this stand because it allows me to keep my style guide—usually Chicago—right at my side. It also has space below to hold my most frequently consulted sources.
  6. Hot-beverage center. What office is complete without a Keurig? Coffee in the morning + tea in the afternoon = a happy editor.

Photo of desktop.
Photo 2. The desktop.

  1. What’s on the dual monitors? I keep Pandora on all day, usually minimized on the left screen (it’s on screen in the photo). The left screen is also where I view my active document and its style sheet. The right screen is for the editorial letter (always open so I can make notes on it as I’m editing) and my Internet resources. I keep at least three tabs open pretty much all the time: the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, the online Chicago manual, and a search engine.
  2. Water.
  3. Timer. I set this for 30 minutes, work until it beeps, and stand to stretch and move around a little. The timer reminds me to get up regularly if I’m sitting, and it also helps me track my time. No fancy time-tracking apps here; I just write the time in that notebook the timer is sitting on.
  4. Things that make me happy. A Grumpy Cat mug and an electronic screwdriver. If you don’t watch Doctor Who, the screwdriver may not make sense to you, but I keep this little beauty on my desk to help me out in tricky editing situations. Not sure how to untangle a jumble of words that is supposed to be a sentence? Just point the electronic screwdriver at the screen and… Okay, it doesn’t actually do anything, but it’s fun.
  5. Coffee and snacks.
  6. TARDIS. Also from Doctor Who. Bigger on the inside. When things get rough, I can fantasize about climbing in there and shooting off to some other place and time.

What's on your desk top?