I’ve been pondering a lot since Friday night. I mean, I was nearly dumbstruck by the events as they unfolded, even with last year’s laureate, Karen Yin, patting my arm and telling me to take deep breaths. (She had asked to sit with me at the banquet so we could catch up and chat. SURE KAREN, WHATEVER YOU SAY.)*
[Note: It wasn’t Karen who did the patting. It was Dan Sosnoski, who nominated me. That’s how verklempt I was. No small feat, conflating those two …]
I can tell you what is not required to win the Robinson Prize for excellence in editing.
No memorization of anything, whether it’s dictionaries, style manuals, or usage guides.**
No big-name connections from past jobs.
No flying around the world to ensure people know who you are, so they’ll vote for you.
No red-carpet moments. (They’d be cool, but are def not required.)
Not self-confidence in the nomination, that’s for damn sure. I was in denial right up into the middle of Sarah Grey’s reading of the news release to the attendees, before she called my name and I somehow managed to walk to the stage. What tipped it? “Register.” I’m the voice in the wilderness. Maybe that will change now.
Not national or international attention prior to the nomination. It’s not like the Oscars. There’s no Golden Globe or People’s Choice to pave the way. You stand on your merits. Period.
Not a string of letters behind your name. I have two BAs: one in British Literature pre-19th century, and one in healthcare administration.*** No master’s degree, certainly no doctorate. I’ve taken two developmental editing courses through the EFA. That’s the extent of my traditional professional development.
I keep rereading the words from my clients, and I continue to be moved nearly to tears. I knew I was a good editor. I love my work. And I figured they thought I was good, too, or they’d not continue to hire me and pay me. I just didn’t know that my peers would think I was that good, too. (Thanks again, Dan, for being a pushy bastard.)
I still feel a bit like Sally Fields, though.****
*Karen Yin is a sweetheart and she knows I’m jesting. We talked about working together on a YA fantasy, and I am STILL STOKED about that.
**My performance in the Merriam-Webster Spelling Bee notwithstanding.
***YES I STYLED IT CLOSED FIGHT ME
****If this means nothing to you, a) you’re a kid and b) I invite you to search for “Sally Fields you like me GIF” and be enlightened.