During the editorial production cycle for this issue, I did something I don’t usually do. I took on the full editing responsibility for one of the feature articles—a task usually performed (always capably, always admirably) by one of the editors whose names appear here.
For some reason I thought I was so deeply familiar with the issues and stakes involved with this article that I was the best one to do all the work. I think now that I was wrong. Because oh-my-goodness was it a lot of work! I’d forgotten how much editorial sweat equity goes into transforming an article from raw, unedited text to a journalistically balanced, beautifully designed, printworthy finished piece.
In addition to the intense editing that I always do on any feature article, there was also communication back and forth with the writer, correspondence with the sources quoted, fitting the copy to the layout, writing sidebars and headlines and subheads, and basically shepherding the article through every step of the process until it was done.
Along the way, pretty much every other task on my to-do list took a back seat. My boss came in at one point to talk about some big-picture stuff, saw the half-glazed, half-manic look in my eyes, and (I think) tabled the rest of her meetings with me until after deadline. There’s a reason I’m not supposed to do this on a regular basis, especially when there’s such a strong team of editors in place.
It’s made me sympathize with all of you veterinarians out there who know you should delegate but struggle with it. It just feels so great to dive in and get up to your elbows (for me figuratively, for you perhaps literally) in the nitty-gritty of a craft you absolutely love.
But then reality hits and you remember everything you’ve been neglecting along the way. You have to scramble to catch up. You realize you may have sent a signal to your team that you didn’t trust them to do this task right. In short, you give yourself a nice swift kick and readjust your priorities to get them back in order.
So let’s take a nice long drink of the delegation Kool-Aid together. Tastes good, doesn’t it? And it really is the best thing for us, our team members, and our publication/practice. If you want a few more insights, read Dr. Craig Woloshyn’s Q&A on the topic. That piece, I’m happy to say, was edited superbly—but not by me.