24 January, 2013

At the end of the tunnel, there's joy

The "Stories of Hope" edition after the
March 2011 disasters. The magazine
that threw me into the depths of magazine
editing for the first time.
Yesterday I intimated that I'd had a happy day. One of the sources of happiness was the soon-to-be released Winter issue of the magazine I edit, Japan Harvest. Today I've handed it over to my Executive Editor for the final check before our Production Editor sends it to the printer. It looks so good!

I started with the magazine a bit over two years ago as merely an assistant to the editor (yeah, I know I was called 'Associate Editor', but that first issue, I really did very little). It's been quite a journey, (here you can read about the early part of it) and I can hardly believe where it's taken me.

This hasn't just been a personal journey with changing responsibilities that brought me to a level of responsibility that I wouldn't have believed two years ago, but a voyage that has involved a number of other people joining the team. It's also been a journey that has brought significant changes and improvements in the process of the magazine and now the look of the magazine has significantly improved also.

I stand in awe at what's been achieved by the team that God's assembled.

This hasn't been without it's challenges, you must understand.

  • Being the "new kid on the editing block" has produced some conflict and misunderstandings with some writers. 
  • Coming into a situation that had been stable for some time and doing some shaking-up of standards produced waves too. 
  • There has been the challenge of working with volunteers, all of whom have other jobs/roles that are significant in their life and ministry. 
  • Not to mention that this is the first time I've really ever been in a formal situation of leadership.
  • Learning to work more closely with others, especially non-Australians on a long-term basis has been a challenge too.
  • Editing the writing of people who may never have been edited before has been difficult at times. Let's just say I've been learning about walking the fine line between firmness and tact.
  • A lot of the territory I've covered for the first time. Like learning about how to work with a magazine designer. Who knew? I wrote my own job description, the style manual for the magazine, the writer's guidelines, etc. I've investigated topics I didn't even know existed.
  • Not to mention the magazine I put together at the time of the March 2011 disasters (with a lot of help, might I add), having only previously seen one and a half cycles of the magazine cycle prior to that (and never been on an editing team before).
But let's leave it there. I feel strangely like I'm at the end of the darkest part of the tunnel of learning for this job. I feel like things have stabilised fairly well. Of course nothing is really stable. As it typical in the missionary scene, change is one of the constants.

Challenges coming up (at least the ones I know about): 
  • my executive editor goes on 3 months home assignment
  • my production editor/art director is pregnant
  • I have a new team member to "simply" check facts
  • we have need of a news editor
  • and in the longer term (18 months away), we go on home assignment for 12 months
I don't know how I'll go with managing these challenges, but if I look back at where we've come from, I'm not all that scared, especially with God on our side. And I thank God for the many blessings he's showered on me as he's carried me through the challenges over the last couple of years.


KarenKTeachCamb said...

It's great to see how you have grown and developed as a writer, as an editor, and as a person through your involvement with Japan Harvest. Well done Wendy. Just one thought. You don't need to know how you'll go managing all those challenges. God's knows, and He will be with you every step of the way, and will give you the wisdom and strength you need at exactly the time you need it. Now it's time I went and remembered that too! Thanks for sharing your challenges.

Love Karen

Gary and Barbara said...

Thanks for your patience and flexibility, Wendy. I've grown in ways I never planned or aspired to. We had no idea where this journey would lead when we first talked, did we? And the journey ahead is sure to have more surprises.

Wendy said...

And Gary, by the way folks, is my executive editor.

No, we had no idea where this journey would lead when we first talked in 2008/9. I'm glad I didn't know some of the places it would take us! But I'm glad for the journey.

Karen, you are absolutely right. I need to trust my heavenly Father for the future! I pray the same for you.

Ken Rolph said...

Fact checkers always puzzle me. Does their existence imply that writers and editors are not doing their jobs? What else do fact checkers do that isn't being done by writers and editors? Besides, the fact checkers I know about still get things wrong themselves. Many seem just there on major newspapers to doctor the writing to fit current editorial prejudices. Or perhaps advertiser preferences.

It may seem paradoxical, but fact checkers are one part of the spin machine of modern communications that I trust least.

Shirley Corder said...

Wendy, I'm so excited for you, and thrilled with the way you've grown. I know I speak for the old Truth Talk when I say, "WELL DONE GIRL!"

Re Ken's comment: I find fact-checkers essential in two situations. 1) You often read what you think you've written and meant to say. If it contains a lot of facts, it often takes an outside person to say, "That doesn't sound right." 2) When your work involves, as in Wendy's case, articles written by a number of different people, there is just not the time to check every fact personally. It's sensible to spread the load.

Wendy said...

Ken, what Shirl said! I've been checking facts as best I could up to now, but it is a relief to pass this portion of my editing job onto someone else. Not that I'm not doing the job, just "spreading the load" as Shirl says.