Brilliant Blogs

brilliant blogs for editors, proofreaders and freelancers

When you’re an independent consultant, freelancer, sole trader or lone wolf business person it’s very easy to get stuck in your ways. It’s also very easy to get bogged down with work, or the search for work, and forget that there’s a whole world out there that’s moving forward (or backwards if you watch the news).

You can keep up-to-date with courses and the like, but blogs and podcasts are a brilliant way to keep up with what’s going on in your business sector, without taking time out to attend a course every week.

As I’m insanely busy at the moment, so I thought I’d share my favourites with you.

Blogs for editors, proofreaders and writers:

SfEP Blog. The Society for Editors and Proofreaders is my ‘go to’ professional society, and not only does it have an informative and helpful website, it also has a blog too. It’s not just about editing and proofreading, all things publishing, freelancing and language are tackled in a friendly, inclusive way.    http://blog.sfep.org.uk/

fountain pen, writing

The next four are probably going to sound like an SfEP advert, but honestly, I love these blogs.

 

John Espirian is a technical writer, editor and copywriter, and one of the directors of the SfEP (he’s the SfEP internet guy).  His blog gives brilliant advice and tips. Everything from the perfect size for your social media banners to taking the long-term approach to business is covered in bite-sized pieces and long-form articles.  https://espirian.co.uk/blog/

Liz Jones is a predominately non-fiction editor, and also a member of the SfEP. Her blog covers editing, freelancing and writing, all with an honest outlook and a sense of humour. I often find myself nodding and going ‘yup, uh-huh, totally …’ when I read her blog. https://eatsleepeditrepeat.wordpress.com/

Denise Cowle is one of the Scottish SfEP posse. There’s lots of loveliness here. I especially like her latest blog on the difference between a dash and a hyphen, perhaps it should be paired with my damned apostrophe article – like a fine wine and crackers. Her worry-free writing is a great series of articles, but you’ll also get a peek into an editor’s life. It’s definitely worth stopping by her blog. http://www.denisecowleeditorial.com/blog

Louise Harnby has her Proofreader’s Parlour – a blog for editors, proofreaders and writers. If you want amazing advice and fabulous freebies this is one for you. She has Q&A pieces, observational articles and long-form pieces on all things writerly. Her latest article is a very good look at narrative point of view by guest Sophie Playle. https://www.louiseharnbyproofreader.com/blog

blog in scrabble tiles

Blogs for business:

The next bunch of blogs I regularly visit are less editor/writer oriented, and are more businessy but never boring (I just don’t do boring).

 

Andrew and Pete are a couple of amazing content marketers. They look at a traditionally less-than-interesting business area and deliver it in a fun, modern way. If you want to know about content marketing head their way, you won’t regret it (but you may lose a few hours in their content). https://www.andrewandpete.com/blog

The ProCopywriters blog is one I found when I joined the network. Aimed at copywriters (the hint is in the name) it covers all things needed by professional copywriters, but writers and business owners in general can learn a lot from it. There’s a great community vibe too. https://www.procopywriters.co.uk/the-professional-copywriters-blog/

One Hack Away From Wonder Woman by Lorrie Hartshorn is  the only podcast I have ever manage to listen to regularly. Twenty-one episodes of loveliness, wrapped up as baddass, no nonsense advice. I go back to these every now and then to remind myself of what’s important in business. It’s aimed at ‘freelance writers and creatives who want to cut the crap and win better work, better clients’.  https://onehackawayfromwonderwoman.podbean.com/

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Blogs from outside the UK:

Grammar Girl is the blog of Mignon Fogarty that deals with everything grammar. If you want quick and easy tips on grammar this is the website you need to bookmark. It’s American based, but don’t let that stop you if you’re based elsewhere, the articles included are invaluable. http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl

An American Editor is packet full of observations from Rich and his contributing writers. Although, this has an American slant (again, the hint is in the name), this blog is great for all editors, especially newbies. He puts a no-nonsense approach to the business on his blog, and reminds us all that we ARE running a business and need to remember that. https://americaneditor.wordpress.com/

Erin Brenner and Laura Poole have put together copyediting.com with quick lessons, information and observations on all things copyediting. Again more US based this is useful for UK editors too. https://www.copyediting.com/category/blog/

 

Blogs for your time out:

Finally two blogs that I try not to miss, that have nothing to do with work. We all need a little time out, and these are my favourite.

Claudia and Sue of Campari and Sofa have a lovely blog. Their tagline is ‘Life after fifty, one cocktail at a time’, but don’t let that put you off if you are not female, under 50 or don’t like cocktails. To be totally honest I can’t remember how I fell upon their blog so many years ago, but they are just wonderful. It’s a lifestyle blog that isn’t stupid or frivolous or patronising. They both lead interesting, honest lives and it comes through in their writing. If you love good food, check out their food and entertaining section. http://campariandsofa.com

 

And finally there’s Heide. If you want history, photography and nature, lose yourself for a while in her writing. Her photography is amazing, and like me she seems to have a love for interesting doors (don’t tell me you don’t notice the amazing architecture and doors in your neighbourhood?). Her latest ‘Louise Dillery: Eyewitness to history’ is a must-read. Honest, insightful and sometimes painfully raw, her blog is one everyone should subscribe to. https://heideblog.com

 

 

I’ll be taking a break for a couple of weeks now – conference calls. While I’m away tell me your favourite blogs and leave a comment below.

Copy Editors Matter

newspaper editors

Yesterday copy editors on Twitter came out in solidarity with their colleagues in the New York Times.

The paper is reported to be shifting to be more reporter focussed and is cutting down on the number of copy editors in the team from over 100 to around 50. And expecting the same level of accuracy in its written material.

As you would expect there is outrage, upset and a whole load of copy editors soon to be out of jobs. At a time when you would expect that accuracy would be foremost in the minds of the media.

I don’t work there so can’t comment other than it seems to be the state of things to come.

To give them their due, the New York Times actually reported on the walk-out.

If you want to see the Twitter thread go and search for #whyeditors

newspaper editor

I’d like to say I was shocked when I heard about the restructuring, but I wasn’t. It seems to be the way things are going at the moment. We are living in a world that increasingly wants things NOW and to hell with factual accuracy, readability and good plain English.

Go online and you will find ‘news reports’ from a large variety of providers that have obviously been typed up quickly and posted without any kind of editing or proofreading. Words are missing, grammar, spelling and punctuation is woefully bad and accuracy gives way to the immediate gratification of the readers. It’s the same with printed matter.

Books, magazines, newspapers, company information … wherever you find shortcuts you will find errors. Errors that can be easily and quickly remedied by hiring a copy editor.

‘It’s ok, we’ve used Hemmingway, Grammarly, Word spell check, given it to our English teacher/friend/neighbour/dog to proofread’, they’ll say.

‘No-one notices/cares/has the time or money or the inclination’, they’ll mutter.

But you know what?

People do notice and do care, and those automated helpers will only take you so far.

Computers cannot take the place of a real human being, no matter what the tech bods will have you think.

Copy editors:

  • Catch bias
  • Catch blindspots
  • Catch politically incorrect language
  • Catch potential libel
  • Catch potential offensive language
  • Catch copyright problems
  • See what you wrote, not what you thought you wrote
  • See what the readers see, not what you see
  • See holes in your argument
  • See padding in your prose
  • Fix errors in grammar
  • Fix errors in punctuation
  • Fix errors in format
  • Fix errors in style
  • Fix errors in voice
  • Spot missing information
  • Spot mislabelled information
  • Spot wrong information
  • Find repetition
  • Find overused phrases
  • Find ambiguity
  • Check readability
  • Check facts
  • Check links
  • Uphold quality
  • Uphold credibility
  • Uphold standards
  • Are invisible
  • Are invaluable
  • Save your ass more times than you realise

So you see, while editors tend to remain invisible, once they are gone you will notice.

All those errors will creep in, the standard of material will hit rock bottom and your credibility and accuracy will suffer.

If you want to remain ahead of the game, stand out above the crowd and be seen as having a quality product you really cannot ignore the role of the copy editor and the value they bring to your business.

why editors matter

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There’s been a lot of interest in this image, so I’ve made it available over on my Redbubble site.

The Value of Networking

 

woman, networking, social media, network

I’ve had a busy few days. Not all of it gainful employment. There’s been work, sample edits, coursework and piddling about reading work blogs when I should have been working. You get the drift.

I like being busy (to be honest I’ve forgotten how to relax), and of course, like all independent professionals, I have times when work is slow. But I always have something to do – coursework, CPD, reading work blogs, avoiding housework – and there’s always networking.

While I may not always have the chance for face-to-face networking, I do try to get myself out there, and there are always online opportunities. If you live in an area where there is a decent-sized population, or if you can easily get to one, you really have no excuses … network!

I used to think that networking was not for me, all schmoooooze, handshakes and dodgy suits. But once I realised that if I dress how I like, I feel more comfortable and behave more like myself (perhaps with a bit more nervous verbal diarrhoea than usual), then networking isn’t so bad. And if you network online you don’t even have that problem … pull on a jumper over your jimjams and Bob’s your Uncle.

Now, if I have a networking opportunity I try my very best to attend. You never know when a fleeting contact will turn into a friend for life, or a valuable business contact.

This week, past networking has paid off in the following ways:

  1. I quoted for a few jobs that came through from someone seeing my profile online
  2. I am working on a few projects for a regular client I was introduced to long time ago via an old mentor (he marked one of my professional examinable projects)
  3. I chatted with a colleague on a matter that may have saved us both a lot of time
  4. I managed to, hopefully, pass over some work I didn’t have time for to another editor in my network.
  5. I managed to help a friend I met via a business networking event
  6. I carried out some work for someone I met at the same networking event a few years ago.

And that’s just in one week.

Businessman Giving out Card --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

The value of networking is immense. While it may not always give immediate results, that business card you handed out, that chat to a suit in a crowded room or that nervous talk to a room full of strangers can, in time, work wonders. Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day (and neither were corny clichés).

Physical networking is valuable because:

  1. It gets you away from your desk
  2. It puts faces to a names – online is great but it’s nice to meet people in person
  3. It pushes you out of your comfort zone (we can get too complacent and forget what the real world is like)
  4. It gives you the chance to give away your carefully crafted business cards, and marvel at the cards of other professionals
  5. It gives you the opportunity to get known, get your name out there and be remembered.

Online networking is valuable because:

  1. Not everyone can physically get to networking events
  2. You can network with people in different geographical areas, different time zones and it’s easy to dip your toes into different types of networking
  3. You can network when it is convenient to you, in your comfy clothes and with a nice mug of tea to keep you calm
  4. It’s an easy way to network if you are painfully shy or socially awkward
  5. It gives you the opportunity to get known, get your name out there and be remembered.

There are very few drawbacks to networking too, although it can be costly if you have to go away to meetings or join a Chamber of Commerce or the like. But you have to see these as costs towards business opportunities in the future.  Just choose your physical networking types according to what will work best for you. Budget for networking then if you see an opportunity you can jump at it.

happy editor, world, social media, networking

Most of all remember – what goes around comes around. Get working, help those in your network and stay visible. You never know when it might pay off.