An Onslaught of Finished Work

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You know it’s been a busy time when finished journals and books and links to your online work flood your doorstep and email inbox. In fact, I’ve been so focused on current work that I haven’t had a chance to share these finished projects here.

These completed works include two issues of academic journals I regularly copyedit, one book I copyedited under a pretty quick deadline, and two books I proofread back in July.

Additionally, Healthline recently published two new articles I wrote back in August:

This fall continues to fly by with new projects to tackle, but please let me know if any of my publishing services may help you.

Highlights from May, June, and July

It’s nearing the end of July, and we’ve got a heatwave in Philadelphia. I’m beating the sweltering weather during these dog days in the central air, as I wrap up several projects with impending deadlines.

Here’s what I’ve been working on for the last few months:

  • Contributing to finalizing chapters of a nursing textbook, including finding art and editing references
  • Coding and finalizing chapters for another nursing textbook
  • Editing a graduate-level dissertation on neuroscience and information technology
  • Copyediting journals on Mormon history and music education
  • Proofreading a book on the physics of nothing and a small gift book on the virtues of Christmas
  • Reviewing updated resumes
  • Writing articles on diabetes, yoga, gluten free diets, and other health subjects

When I’m not working, I’m balancing this docket of work with some pretty breezy summer reads–mostly celebrity memoirs. It’s fun to take a peek into some icons of our present day, including some pretty funny ladies who’ve enjoyed success at Saturday Night Live and beyond.

Winter Highlights 2016

March is here, just like that. Between editing and writing, I have been tackling a large workload.

Recent projects include:

  • Copyediting several journals for a university press, including two on Polish culture and one on music;
  • Editing references and seeking permissions for a mammoth community health textbook;
  • Writing articles for Healthline on the topics of eczema and skin care, contraceptives, and more; and
  • Crafting blog posts and marketing materials for some favorite entrepreneurs and nonprofits.

I hope to highlight some new projects on Facebook soon, so if you don’t like me there, please click here.

 

Highlights, End of 2015

Happy New Year to all of you! The cold has settled in the Middle Atlantic states, and I am chugging along on some time-intensive projects that require me to move back and forth between The Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS) and the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA).

Despite this ping-pong match between CMoS and APA, I am enjoying all of the work this new year brings.


Projects I worked on at the end of 2015 include:

  • Copyediting a journal on music education and a journal on Polish studies.
  • Editing a dissertation for a doctoral candidate in education.
  • Supporting a volume editor edit references and request permissions for a large-scale health textbook.
  • Reviewing marketing emails and blog posts for a graphic designer and lifestyle expert.
  • Compiling a handbook for a professional organization.
  • Writing articles for Healthline.

 

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And, in case you missed it, check out my recent blog post on the fabulous new coffee mugs I’ll be drinking from in the new year.

Now Writing for Healthline

I wanted to share that I’ve been writing for Healthline, a web resource for health and wellness topics, since June.

Here’s some of my latest work:

If you need a professional writer to tackle a topic for your website, blog, newsletter, or other publication, look no further. I love to help capture the ideas bouncing around the heads of my clients and put them into a coherent written document. Contact me for more information about my writing services.

Six Writing and Editing Resources

In my line of work, we use several resources to guide our decision-making. These are our tools of the trade, helping us keep things consistent and in order. If you are writing or editing any type of content, I recommend you utilize one or more of these resources and keep your own in-house style sheet (I’ll be posting about that soon).

Here are my top resources for writing and editing:

Stylebooks

The_Chicago_Manual_of_Style_16th_edition1. The Chicago Manual of Style

Here’s the style guide I used at my former job at an independent book publisher. The Chicago Manual of Style is very comprehensive (and thick!). I swear, it answers nearly every question that might come up when you are working on a document. I highly recommend this style guide for books.

Why I love Chicago style:

  • Comprehensive
  • Helpful chapter on punctuation
  • Great advice for notes, references, and bibliographies
  • Informative for beginning editors and writers who are learning about the process

Last year I began using the online version of the guide, making my editing work even more transportable. For just $35.00/month you can have access to the book as a searchable resource — making it easier for you to look up a term, question, or style preference.

51Ejt8rMFaL2. The Associated Press Stylebook

I first used The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook when I worked for my college newspaper. I loved this resource for many reasons at the time, mostly because of its cut-and-dried approach to punctuation, terms, and formatting. Now, I have to admit, my love of the serial comma is strong, so exclusively referring to this style can be difficult (sorry to any of you who love the omission of that last comma in a series!). I recommend this style guide for writing intended for the web, newsletters, and magazines.

Why I love AP style:

  • Definitive
  • Easy-to-use
  • Good style for short-form writing

Make sure you start with the most recent edition of this book to avoid making any style decisions based on previous issues. In our constantly changing world, many of the terms and recommendations will change related to the web and other emerging technologies.

apa-style3. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

Of all the style guides, I find this resource the most helpful and the most frustrating. You may be asked to follow this style book (hereafter called APA style) for higher education courses or for professional writing. Its main focuses are avoiding bias in your writing (important!), formatting academic papers (crucial if that’s what you need to do), and ensuring that your references are consistent and match the manual’s recommendations (I can guarantee you’ll never stop checking for ampersands and appropriate periods). These sections of the book are immensely helpful, though I find it difficult to use when I have higher-level grammar or style questions. Sometimes I will confer with Chicago to confirm those questions.

Why I love APA style:

  • Great for academic writing
  • Helpful tips for bias-free language
  • Straightforward approach to references and citations

If you are using APA style and need more help, be sure to use the Publication Manual’s blog. It will provide you with plenty more information on writing and editing in APA style.

Web Resources

Okay, enough with the stylebooks! Here are some great web references that you can utilize for quick grammar, usage, and style questions.

4. Merriam-WebsterMerriam-Webster_logo.svg

I use merriam-webster.com as my go-to dictionary and thesaurus. It’s wise to have one specific dictionary to source for consistency. I recommend this tried-and-true version, and it’s the favorite of many stylebooks. You’ll be able to confirm spellings and capitalization as well as determine good synonyms when writing punchy copy. It even has a great medical dictionary and fun words of the day.

ud-logo5. Urban Dictionary

Okay, this is a little out of left field, but a lot of my clients use slang and colloquial language when writing blogs, newsletters, and other personal communications. Urban Dictionary is my source for looking up terms not in the Merriam-Webster (think figuring out what YOLO or FOMO means or deciding on a consistent spelling for “biznass” or “hair-did”).

duVKyUtt_400x4006. Grammar Girl

I have a professional crush on Grammar Girl. She’s all-knowing and is great at explaining problematic grammar issues, such as affect vs. effect, split infinitives, and parallel construction. Whenever you have a grammar question, this site can give you helpful information and tips without a whiff of grammar snobbery (a pet peeve of mine!). It’s a great way to answer specific questions or to relearn grammar that you last thought about when writing your final school paper a decade or two ago.

I hope these resources can be helpful to you as you create and edit content. I am always here to help you with any type of writing or editing. Contact me at natalielsilver (at) yahoo (dot) com to discuss your project and needs.

Editing Highlights, March and April 2015

We’re out of the snow and cold and into fragrant and sunny May. It’s delightful to work with my laptop out on the screened porch before the northeast humidity sets in for summer.

In the last few months, I’ve had the good fortune of expanding my business offerings by supporting small business owners in their writing endeavors as well as working with my publishing clients.

Without further ado, some highlights from the last few months include:

  • Copyediting two journals for University of Illinois Press, which included articles about animal lives in the marketplace and instrumental music teacher identity (obviously from different journals!)
  • Proofreading a trade book on entrepreneurship
  • Compiling a glossary for a nursing informatics textbook
  • Writing copy for a coach launching her new website
  • Blogging for a fitness entrepreneur
  • Reviewing business documents for an architect
  • Editing web articles on crafts and parenting

I’ll add that I finally finished reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (I am about two years behind the zeitgeist!). What should I put on my reading list for summer?

May and June look full of interesting and challenging projects. Expect an update in hot and humid July!

5 Essential Résumé Writing Tips

Spring is here, and many of us are tackling those spaces in our house collecting dust. Another item to clean up is your résumé. Whether you’re job hunting in the near future or wanting to stay current, spend an hour or two thinking about this all-important personal document.

While I don’t claim to be a résumé-writing expert, I am fortunate to be related to someone who has spent years coaching and guiding job seekers. Thanks Marcia Lyons for these tips! And if you need a final set of eyes on your document, keep me in mind!

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A résumé is your most important marketing piece, and it takes a lot of thought. The résumé gets the interview, and sometimes it can still get you the job if it’s good enough — even if your interview wasn’t perfect. Why? Because your résumé stays behind and is what the members of the hiring team will look at again as they narrow the field of candidates. If your résumé successfully reminds them of what you have to offer, you can still come out on top.

Here are five things your résumé must include:

  1. A good-looking format. Use a standard, easy-to-read font. Don’t make the font size too small — readability is more important than cramming the information on a single page. Use white space, shaded boxes, and font emphasis (bold, underline, italic, etc.) to create interest and readability. Keep in mind you may also need a plain text version for some websites.
  2. A job description, including position title and dates worked. Also write accomplishment statements for each job of any duration — what did you do in that position to make a difference? Use quantification in the accomplishment statements (i.e., “improved sales by 15% in first year,” “trained 30 employees in proper use of the new software system,” “coordinated 50 volunteers for the school fundraiser.” Numbers make the statement more meaningful.
  3. Résumé-friendly grammar, usage, and style. Always write in the third person, and start sentences with strong action verbs. First person résumés are awkward and make a poor impression.
  4. A skills summary. Locate it somewhere on the résumé where key words are easy to locate. This skills summary should give the reader a quick snapshot of what you have to offer. These are often at the top of the résumé, immediately following the summary of qualifications, or career summary section.
  5. A top-notch summary. This section may be the only part of your résumé that is read as hiring teams go through a giant pile of résumés. If you don’t include this vital section, your résumé reviewer will just look at your last title and that will be what they remember about you. Quite often, this is not what you want. For example, if your most recent position is as a part-time sales clerk but you have been a marketing manager and vice president for a large company, you want to make sure those significant roles stand out at the top.

There is a lot of advice out there, and don’t be afraid to do your homework as you prepare to update your résumé. If you keep these five ideas in mind, you’ll be on your way to creating a document that does the job.

Five Tips to Improve Your Writing

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I was honored to submit a blog post on the bizzy mamas website last week. The bizzy mamas are a networking group for women who juggle business and family. Many of those in the group own their own businesses, so I wanted to remind them that it is possible to be an effective writer without being too obsessed with nitty-gritty grammar.

If you are not a strong writer, I do recommend hiring an editor for major endeavors, however. For websites, proposals, reports, and marketing materials, it’s worth investing a small sum to make sure your documents are of the highest quality possible.

Read my advice here.

Show Your Best Self

Silver Scribe Blog

When preparing for a big presentation, you want to make sure you look your best. Shoes polished, suit dry cleaned, accessories chosen carefully. You spend hours reviewing your notes on index cards, practicing in the shower, in the car, and in front of the mirror. You’ve got this!

Your presentation time finally arrives, and you open your PowerPoint file and hand out a thirty-page report documenting your subject matter in more detail. Five minutes into your presentation, you look at your PowerPoint and realize that there are several grammatical errors on the screen. During the question-and-answer session following your presentation, you refer to a page in your report and see a few glaring typos. Despite nailing the presentation with your rehearsed delivery and impeccable dress, the glaring mistakes in your presentation and report send you on a downward spiral. Thinking to yourself, “I must have read that 100 times!” you shake your head as you find your way to the car, hoping that your audience didn’t notice your less-than-polished presentation materials.

To avoid feeling this way at such a pivotal juncture, consider hiring an experienced editor to review your work before a big day. No matter the subject matter, someone with a trained editorial eye will see the misplaced apostrophes, capital letters, and commas. And editors are trained for catching more than just typos. They will make sure that your lists are parallel, that your sentences are clear, and that your hyphens are in the right spot. They will break your text into more appropriately sized paragraphs, provide ideas for organization, and give you tips on how to succinctly introduce and summarize your content. For just a nominal cost, you can make sure your writing stands out just like you do. 

Just as you wouldn’t stand in front of a group of people in old jeans and Converse sneakers, you wouldn’t want to hand out a postcard that confuses “Your” with “You’re.”

Let me be your high-heeled shoes. Let me be your lucky tie. Make sure your written materials are as perfect as your appearance and rehearsed presentation. Let’s get started!