A while back, Brian Keaney left me a comment about applying skills that have been honed in the world of business to the craft of writing. At the time, I nodded and filed it in the back of my mind. I look upon Brian as one of the voices of sanity because he’s already ploughed a significant furrow with his books.
So what’s with the letters TCQS? I’ll tell you. Collectively, they are one of the building blocks of project management, representing as they do, Time, Cost, Quality and Scope. Recently, I’ve had a couple of editing jobs where these four letters have returned to haunt (and hopefully, educate) me.
Editing someone else’s work for pay is a strange dance between the art of the possible and the unyielding reality of those four letters and the dynamics between them. To put it simply, if something changes part way through the edit (or any kind of project), it will either be one or more of those factors or it will affect one or more of those factors.
If you agreed to take on a job, make sure you agree when it needs to be completed (Time), the budget (Cost), what constitutes an edit (Quality) and the number of pages to be worked upon (Scope). If any of these beauties starts to drift away from your agreement, you need to identify the culprit as quickly as possible and take remedial action.
You can extend the deadline, adjust the payment for the total job / hourly rate / price per page , renegotiate if the word count or page total changes, or revise what kind of edit you can do without losing the client or losing the project’s economic viability. The same applies when it’s your own material that you’re working on.
TCQS – it’s worth a whole lot more than you think.