Numbers: 2016

I realize that January is halfway over, but I wanted to post a review of 2016. Last year was hugely successful for me as a freelance writer and editor, so I wanted to mark the occasion by running my work by the numbers. Without further ado:

  • Number of clients: 13
  • Number of books copyedited or proofread: 6
  • Number of journals copyedited: 10
  • Number of articles written: 50
  • Number of huge nursing education textbooks or supplemental materials edited: 3
  • Number of dissertations edited: 2
  • Number of individual clients who I collaborated with on resumes, websites, and marketing copy: 7

And here are a few approximate numbers, just for fun’s sake:

  • Number of times I reviewed a style book (including Chicago, APA, and AP): 5,000
  • Number of times I looked up a term in Merriam-Webster: 7,000

Thank you to all of my clients who keep me working so hard year-round. I am lucky to be in this profession, and as a lifelong learner and avid reader, working on a variety of topics couldn’t be more thrilling.

 

More Praise

I shared some praise I received earlier this week, and I thought I should post this too. Editing can be a pretty solitary (and critical) profession at times, so I’ll take the compliments when they come.

You have been a godsend!  Such a pleasure to work with you during this unexpected marathon edition.

This pertains to a months-long project I contributed to and just wrapped up this week. So happy to have completed this baby! Look for the ninth edition of a thirty-two chapter nursing textbook in the coming months–ha!

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.

March and April 2016 Highlights

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I have a rare moment to breathe in the Silver Scribe Editorial offices. It’s been a busy few months in editorial land. I am so thankful to my clients for giving me interesting, challenging, and sometimes-demanding projects.

Here’s a sampling on what’s been pulled up on the iMac lately:

  • Journals on Mormon history and animal ethics (copyediting);
  • Articles on topics including acid reflux, diabetes, and HPV — I am adding to Dr. Google’s vast amount of medical information (writing);
  • Files for two health textbooks (research, permissions, file preparation);
  • An appeal letter and a brochure for a local charity (writing)
  • Blog posts for a fitness blog (blog writing)
  • Copy for an event planner’s website (writing)

I love having a full plate that is as diverse as this list. When I am away from the computer, I’ve been tracking my steps on the FitBit, reading (and finishing) Kitchens of the Great Midwest, and traveling to my old college town, Ithaca.

Keep up with Silver Scribe Editorial happenings on Facebook. Need an editor or writer? Contact me!

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.

My New Year’s Advice to You

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As you compile your list of business and personal goals to begin a fresh new year, I advise you to commit to one big (yet small) resolution:

Pick deadlines and stick to them.

I’ve been an editor and writer for more than a decade. Before that I was a great student. And you know what the biggest marker of my success has been both professionally and personally? Meeting deadlines.

Sounds easy for some, I am sure. Sounds insanely difficult for others, I bet. But if you want to accomplish anything, creating goals (with dates attached) should be your number-one measurement tool.

In publishing, final products come to be because of a series of small deadlines. Here’s what a typical production schedule looks like:

  • Content submitted.
  • Content edited/copyedited.
  • Content reviewed by author.
  • Content submitted to production.
  • Content formatted by production.
  • Content proofread by proofreader and/or author.
  • Content published.

These steps can take a day, a week, a month, or even a year, depending on the nature of the final product. But microdeadlines are essential to keeping the project moving. (You may also need an editor to get on your tail sometimes. I am the person for that job!)

So start that blog and commit to posting every week (or more). Redo your website and come up with a production schedule you can follow. Begin writing that long-imagined book and meet with a publishing expert who can help you come up with a workflow. Just do it.

You may be a procrastinator, but if you want to accomplish something big in 2016, pull out your calendar, map out your year, and get to work. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

I’ll be back in January with tips on beginning a writing project.

Client Profile: The Kolbe Fund

logo smallA few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to collaborate with Kate Schnittman, founder and executive director of The Kolbe Fund. Kate and I share mutual friends and colleagues through our networking group, and I was so pleased to finally get to know her better and contribute to the good work of The Kolbe Fund.

Kate and her husband started The Kolbe Fund after receiving such amazing care and support from their family and friends (and strangers) when their son, Max, was diagnosed with a brain tumor four years ago. They wanted to pay it forward and help provide lodging to families in financial need who must travel for critical pediatric care.

In just two years, The Kolbe Fund has provided more than 1,000 nights of lodging for families. This is a remarkable number, and it serves as a testament to Kate’s hard work and can-do attitude.

Kate-3I had the opportunity to contribute to The Kolbe Fund by helping Kate draft some imperative communication for her donor list. Over just a few days, Kate and I worked through her ideas and created copy she could use and send without much investment of her time. (Can you guess that she’s getting busier and busier with the success of this organization?!) I was so happy to give Kate a little stress relief, and working with this organization meant a lot to me too.

If you are considering donating to charities during this holiday season (or during #GivingTuesday), please keep The Kolbe Fund in mind.

 

Highlights, Early Fall

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A recent snapshot of what I do while I work. Thank goodness for warm, comforting beverages!

In my neck of the woods, it’s beginning to feel like that magical holiday season. Trees are bare, the wind is starting to gust, and my children are singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” on repeat. And it’s not even Thanksgiving!

I’ve had a successful run of projects this fall, and I can’t wait to share more of the finished products on my Facebook feed. Consider following me if you aren’t already!


My recent work includes:

  • Proofreading a book on the Christmas virtues (it got me thinking about all of my favorite traditions way back in September);
  • Copyediting a manuscript on spirituality for medical professionals, a journal on animal ethics, and a journal on music education;
  • Editing and writing content for small business websites (clients include a marketing company, a Realtor, a fitness studio, a life coach, a video production company, and a graphic designer);
  • Researching and compiling educational tools for a large medical publisher;
  • Drafting a solicitation letter for a nonprofit organization; and
  • Writing articles for Healthline.

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And here’s my public service announcement for those of you sending holiday cards (via Slate). This post reached thousands through my Facebook page, and it’s a good reminder of how to pluralize your last name.

I hope you enjoy these final weeks of 2015!

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.