In February, I copy edited a book intended for social entrepreneurs (i.e., people who want to start a business with the goal of solving social problems). The author poses the question, "Think of your field as a whole. Is it known for being stagnant or innovative?" I chuckled and thought about the copy editor stereotype: an elderly white woman with glasses, similar to the librarian stereotype, but instead of holding their index finger to their lips, they are holding a red pen and looking down at your work with disappointment.
Now that I’m 26, my husband keeps teasing me about being in my “late twenties.” (He’s two years younger than me.) Long ago are the days when I would hang a celebrity’s poster on my wall and think about how grown up they seemed. It's weird that I'm the same age as Cardi B...
Being born in 1993 makes me a millennial, and being a millennial has actually been a benefit to me as a copy editor. We spent our childhood years making mud pies and playing with Play-Doh, but we also grew up with the Internet and social media — allowing us to balance the old and the new. In university, I received a formal technical writing and editing education, even learning the traditional proofreading marks that our stereotypical copy editor would have used before Track Changes was invented. But I also took courses dedicated to document design, analyzing audiences, and inbound marketing.
Happiness hides in life's small details. If you're not looking, it becomes invisible. — Joyce Brothers
This quote rings true for me this morning.
I am sitting in my home office at the desk that my husband built for me to do this very work. My home is filled with natural light. I can smell my strawberry candle and hear the wind chimes outside. The cows are grazing outside my window. I am feeling love for the life that my husband and I built together.
But most of the time, it's hard for me to notice these little details of my life. I usually see the piles of laundry (yes, plural), the Christmas tree that we have yet to take down (oops), and the permanent indention in the couch marking where my dog always sleeps. It's interesting how the ugly details will outshine the beautiful ones, making my home appear out of order.
Writing is like that too.
Eugene Weekly posted an article yesterday titled "Requiem for a Newspaper," which discusses what typically happens when corporate ownership buys a local newspaper. In short, many long-standing employees are fired, such as Dan Buckwalter, the copy editor whose story is featured.
While this article focuses on the newspaper industry, the "disappearance" of professional copy editors is not a new trend. People hear these horror stories and ask, "When profit becomes a driving force, does the integrity of the writing diminish?"
In my experience, either the remaining employees pick up the slack or a freelance copy editor, such as myself, is hired on an as-needed basis. The good news is that for every article like this, there is probably a job posting out there looking to hire the kind of talent who was just let go.
As a copy editor, I see ads for Grammarly all the time. (By now you probably know that ads are customized to you.) Grammarly is an online grammar checking, spell checking, and plagiarism detection platform. And you can start using it for free.
I downloaded the Chrome extension to check it out.
When you are searching for a copy editor, first ask yourself whether you are looking for a beginner, an intermediate, or an advance copy editor:
Side-Hustle: work performed for income supplementary to one’s primary job
It seems like everyone interested in a side hustle wants to start copy editing. And with all of these freelance copy editors out there, it may be hard to determine which ones are qualified for your particular project.
Here are 5 simple questions that will help you get to know your copy editor:
Before becoming a part-time technical writer for an IT division, technology intimidated me. When I was in college, I didn’t take courses such as “Writing on the Web” or “Writing Software Documentation” because I was sure that those topics would fly right over my head.
Who would have guessed that I would be an IT technical writer three years later.
On average, it takes more than 2 months to form a habit. Starting a New Year’s Resolution in January and expecting to become a different person by February is annoyingly unrealistic. Therefore, I believe in breaking up your resolutions into month-sized morsels (i.e., setting up monthly tasks).
The following New Year’s Resolution ideas are from my perspective as a copy editor, seeing what clients typically have questions about or struggle with:
I’ve always heard that there are two types of people: those terrified of first dates and those terrified of interviews. Well, I fell into the category of interview-dreaders. And it wasn’t until I experienced two back-to-back unsuccessful (a.k.a. bad) interviews that my anxiety finally ceased.
In the first interview, I was taken into an office, sat down, and immediately given a test to complete in 10 minutes. The test was about SEO terminology (things like landing pages, meta keywords, and organic searches), and at the time, I knew as much about SEO as I did about the Chinese language. Needless to say, the hiring manager was not impressed.
That interview actually motivated me to get my Inbound Marketing Certification, which I received last month.
In the second, I learned that the job responsibilities were two-fold: editing advertisements and developing new commercial ideas for clients. While I thought I was applying for an editing position, the interviewer made it clear that creative writing would take up over 50% of my work. (Creative writing is NOT one of my strong suits.)
These experiences gave me a deeper understanding of the types of positions and companies that are right for me. And with a couple of bad interviews under my belt, I came up with a list of five things to do to eliminate any pre-interview jitters:
This month, Little Rock Soirée focuses on taking care of yourself and the people you love. While copy editing this issue, there was one interview that made me say, “Jake, come listen to this story! It’s incredible.”
Bailey Faulkner, Director of Ozark Mission Project, told Soirée about the project’s mission, challenges, and how people can get involved. By working with local youth groups, Ozark Mission Project serves surrounding communities through physical labor: repairing porches, painting houses, mowing lawns, and the like.
But while the project has helped many struggling single moms, retirees, and disabled persons, there is one story that has really stayed with Bailey:
Alora D. Boerner
Freelance copy editor serving nonfiction writers, small business owners, and job seekers.