I am comforted today by the fact that I’ve used the word “the” 5441 times in a A Gift of Time. Although I suppose some of those occurrences could be in words like “theater” or “theme,” it still makes me feel so much better about the 91 uses of “just,” each and every one of which I have looked at and determined is worth keeping.

Today’s goals: less ambitious than yesterday. I got nowhere close to a whole pass. Too many things that warranted revision, thinking about, cross-checking, etc. So, two chapters this morning before yoga, four chapters this afternoon before my evening meeting. That’ll put me halfway through my copy-edit. Tomorrow I’ll try to finish, and Saturday I’ll start an actual proofing pass. With any luck, I’ll be done by Sunday. Later than I hoped, but that’s sort of been the way of things with this book all the way along. Why should it change during the end game?

One of the hardest lessons I had to learn as a working editor was that perfection is not possible. There’s no such thing and the cost-benefit analysis doesn’t make any sense. As an editor, you have to make choices about what you can accomplish in your available time. Smart choices. Ones that make your pay rate something you can live with and on. Doing it all myself makes those choices so much harder and less clear.