Conditions and criteria

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My time is my life

I am an old man.

Life is not a renewable resource.

When I give you my time, I am giving you a very precious gift that becomes more rare and valuable with every project I complete.

Even if you were paying me for my services, no amount of money can buy me an extra day of life.

When you waste my time, you are wasting my life.

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.

Negotiating for my assistance

Tell me the number of WORDS in your project

Please do not tell me the number of pages you want me to read.

Some pages are single-spaced with a small proportional font, and custom line heights. It is possible to pack 800 words or more with the pages formatted like that.

What I mean by a "page" is 52 lines of text in Courier 12 monospace. Such a page will contain roughly 250 words on it.

"Words" are the building blocks of sentences. This sentence has seven words in it.

MicroSoft Word counts words for you.

Tell me what deadlines you have

It matters a great deal to me when you need me to finish reading your work.

Deadlines set by institutions and teachers have a higher priority for me than your personal milestones.

I give the highest priority to work that needs to be done for Biblica and Orientalia. That assignment is what pays for my room and board here in Rome. The work that I do for faculty and students comes out of my free time after meeting those primary responsibilities.

I want to know your deadline at the time that I agree to read what you have written. I will not react in a kindly and benevolent fashion if you surprise me with the news that my review of your work is due sooner than I expected.

I have to decide how to fit your project into the work I do for Biblica and Orientalia. Please tell me your real deadline, not an imaginary date that you have chosen to make life easier for you.

Do not add pieces to your project

If I agree to read one item, do not give me two. If your project consists of a Word document and a PowerPoint slideshow, you must tell me about both parts of the project in advance.

What I will and will not do for you

I will not re-read any passage I have already corrected

If you change a file after giving me the copy you want to have me read, then working your changes into the file I return to you is YOUR responsibility.

I will not under any circumstances re-read your piece in full.

If you turn on "track changes" in MicroSoft word as you edit the file I have returned to you, I may, if I have time and if I judge that you deserve more time of it, look at the changes you have made.

I will explain my corrections and suggestions

If you would like to learn more about the art of writing, I would love to have a conversation with you. I cannot put these explanations into writing as I edit. That takes too much of my time — too much of my life!

I will not fight for my suggestions

I suggest.

You decide.

If you do not like my suggestions, ignore them.

You are the author of your work and you are responsible for its final form.