Editing; It’s No Picnic, But Better Than Road Research

Well, I’m in the final stages of editing now. It’s been more of an emotional rollercoaster than I would have guessed, but that’s mostly my fault. I’ve been riding the highs and lows of the deadline boogie. My flagging organizational skills and my inability to see the big picture while agonizing over disconnected phone numbers and conflicting opening hours has exacerbated the problem.

To start, I thought I’d barely make deadline. After a week of smoking editing, I thought I was on fire and that I would be done a week ahead of schedule or more. Then the word-count demons fell on me and I surmised that I’d make deadline only if I slept 17 minutes a night and lived in adult diapers. Now, having gotten a better grip on what exactly needs to be ready for the first deadline and what I can blow off and leisurely pick at for weeks until the second deadline, it appears I’ve found a happy medium, between working diligently, but not in full on panic mode.

The process of piecing everything together and checking facts would be a lot easier of the Romanians and Moldovans had the capacity to answer emails. Everyone even remotely involved with tourism has gotten online in recent years. Every pensioner with a spare room and shepherd with a donkey to rent has gotten themselves a swanky web site, with a domain name, Flash animation, background music, the works. So why is it, after all this work to promote themselves, when a guy sends them an email offering them exposure in the largest guidebook in the English speaking world, if only they would clarify one or two points, they never answer? I just don’t get it. And it’s not just Grandma Gabriela in Mud Hutville who’s blowing me off, large tour agencies and non-profits dying for exposure are snubbing me too. What the crap?

Seeing as how LP editors really, really like complete, detailed information, if I can’t make clear whether breakfast is included or if the donkey ride is wheelchair accessible, I’m put in a position of having to either put down an educated guess or just rub them out of the book. It’s driving me a little nutty.

These gripes aside, editing is the shit. I get to write, which is why I got into this gig in the first place, I get to get up when I need a break, go down the street and flirt with girls in itty bitty skirts that know and love me (I tip heavily) while I wait for my pizza to be made, I don’t have to wake up in the morning at first light and try to figure out what city I’m in and I’m not bleeding money in over-priced hotels, petrol and fender benders. I never thought I find myself saying this, but I’m pretty happy not travelling for now. So much that I may even blow off my modest summer travel plans just to sit here, edit a few more high paying articles, drink wine, read the pile of books that I brought back from America in January that haven’t been touched and, oh yeah, flirt with girls in itty bitty skirts that know and love me. Sounds dreamy doesn’t it? We’ll see. I’m pretty fickle. I could just as easily be tearing out of here before the end of June just for a change of scenery.

On a totally unrelated note, my travel plans are also being severely tested by the fantastically large quarterly tax payments I’ve had to make this year. Now that I’m making more than $20 every other month, the IRS has taken a renewed interest in my career and I have to send in estimated tax payment or face fines. These estimated payments are exceptionally hefty considering my meagre income and if my accountant weren’t my brother, I’d have gotten him on the phone and cursed his ass out already. It’s just cruel, and it sounds like it’s par for the course for freelance writers. It’s a miracle anyone can actually make a living doing this stuff.

Although something new came up the other day; someone who I consider to be quite wise is trying to convince me that if I don’t live in the US for more than a year (I’m going on three years now), I no longer have to pay taxes there. Can that be possible? Don’t I need residency in another country before that can happen? Even if I wanted to do that, who would take me? I’m an American! We make it so damn hard for people to live with us that the rest of the world has happily reciprocated and the best I can do is hang around for 90 days somewhere and then I either need to get out or do the border dance to renew my 90 days. It’s a real pain. In any case, I can’t just tell the IRS I’ve moved out of the country, give them an email address and flout tax payments, can I? Anyone?

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