Recent Articles I’ve Written for Healthline

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I just wanted to drop in and share some recent articles I wrote for Healthline.

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Summer has been busy: writing articles, editing journals and books, and lining up future projects. Please let me know if you have any writing or editing needs this fall. I’d love to help you out!

 

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.

Gifts for a Freelance Editor and Writer

When your wife/sister/sister-in-law’s occupation is sitting at a desk reading long documents of text or writing snappy articles for the web, what do you give her?

Awesome mugs, of course!

Thanks to my family, here are a few additions to my collection:

No matter how early the morning or the pile of work to be done, these mugs will bring me joy and inspiration in the new year.

It’s wonderful to take a pause in our lives and workloads to celebrate with family and friends. I am back to editing this morning (copyediting a Polish-centered academic journal), but the time away from the computer in the last few days has been welcome.

Wishing you a happy new year. See you in 2016!

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.

Client Profile: Small Steps

Small Steps LogoLast month I had the opportunity to work with someone who’s just taken a big, brave leap into pursuing her career dreams (just like I did a few years ago!). Elizabeth Small (hereafter Liz) decided recently that she wanted to focus all of her professional efforts on growing her small business, Small Steps. Her endeavor provides reflections, one-on-one sessions, and workshops to those who are looking to restore or grow their personal faith. She also provides programing for college campuses on spirituality and hooking up. And, the best part of all, she’s honest, funny, and self-deprecating, which gives her regular blog posts a refreshing voice and makes them must-reads.

Liz reached out to me after realizing that creating the copy for her website was too daunting a task to do alone. She had hired other professionals, including a photographer and graphic and web designers, to elevate her site’s look, and she wanted to make sure her copy delivered the Small Steps message as effectively as possible.

HeadshotDuring our collaboration, Liz and I traded many e-mails and files. She contributed the original ideas and writing to the project, and I looked through it with an editorial eye to suggest ways to be more direct and explicit. For Liz’s website, she needed to be clear about her services but also retain her distinct voice. As an editor, I wanted to achieve these objectives while also checking for other grammar, usage, and style issues. In just a few weeks, Liz and I had polished her copy and it was ready for her website’s new launch.

Liz was kind enough to supply a quote I could use for my own marketing efforts as I continue to grow my offerings for individuals and small businesses. Regarding our collaboration, Liz said: “Working with Natalie was such a treat! She’s clearly honed her trade as an editor, and I felt like all of her suggestions helped my message become clearer!”

If you are in need of reconnecting with your personal needs and spiritual life, contact Liz to set up a time to talk. She offers regular programs on self-care, something many of us could use on a regular basis. And if you are looking to refine or create a clear and effective message for your own small business, reach out to me so we can begin a meaningful collaboration.

Partnering With Caitlin Merto Designs

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Last week I mentioned a new partnership with an amazing graphic designer. For the last few months, I have collaborated with Caitlin Merto, the creative force behind Caitlin Merto Designs. Caitlin helps entrepreneurs — specifically female entrepreneurs — brand their small businesses with stunning graphics, smart web design, and helpful business tips. I am honored to work with Caitlin and her clients to create and edit dynamic copy for their brands.

Caitlin’s weekly newsletters share great tips for small business owners, so consider signing up to receive them. An insightful, driven, and talented entrepreneur herself, Caitlin has so much knowledge to share about branding and doing what you love. We are both in the process of building our own businesses and are learning so much from each other as we collaborate.

C-4Partnering with such a focused entrepreneur provides me with the opportunity to utilize my writing and editing skills for individuals and small businesses. I love the nuts and bolts of publishing in all media forms, so it’s a dream to have projects that include books, journals, websites, and more. My current workload includes all of these formats, so I am feeling great about taking on the challenge of owning a small business.

If you are interested in taking your website or other marketing materials to the next level, consider consulting with Caitlin on crafting your brand. You won’t be disappointed!

(Thanks to Leave It to Me Photography for Caitlin’s beautiful headshot!)

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!

Small Business Owners: Why You Need an Editor

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Hey small business owner! Yeah you! The one with the website, brochure, newsletter, and blog that you are trying to manage along with your business services, networking events, professional development, and accounting. Are you feeling a little overwhelmed?

As a small business owner myself, I bet that you have a pretty long to-do list. I started my publishing services business two years ago and have gone from “I feel overwhelmed at the thought of getting all of this going” to “I am not sure where I should be spending my time and efforts.”

Sound familiar?

Chances are, if you are running a small business, you are passionate about the services you offer. Whether it’s selling products, providing services, or being just plain awesome, you want to spend your time focusing on these activities, not on invoicing, tracking expenses, writing copy, or reviewing every marketing material for grammar, usage, and style. That’s where other professionals can help so you can focus on those all-important core activities of your business.

Here are three reasons to find and hire an editor now:

You Need a Brand and You Need to Build It

Just like so many small business owners outsource bookkeeping to keep their accounting organized and streamlined, hiring an editor and/or writer can simplify and boost your marketing plans. In this day in age of content marketing, where you send out informational content to be absorbed by the masses (think social media posts, blogs, and newsletters), your communication efforts need to be substantial and well presented. As a Harvard Business Review article, “Every Content Marketer Needs an Editor,” describes:

The editor . . . acts as a proxy for the reader, and ensures your content offers that reader real value in return for their time.  That editor also has the ability to recognize the difference between an idea that’s worth a 140-character tweet, and one that can be developed into a blog post or report—or, for that matter, a three-minute video. They have the ability to work with an author whose ideas may be terrific but who may not be a strong communicator, and develop that author’s ideas into a compelling and engaging piece of content. And yes, the ability to transform inelegant or even incoherent prose into a tight, readable argument.

So you may be an expert in fitness, in selling jewelry, or in creating beautiful interior designs, but it’s unlikely that you’ve got the time to create each piece of written communication necessary to build your brand for the masses. (If you need help developing your branding concept, check out my associate, Caitlin Merto). Let an expert navigate the world of words so you can focus on everything else.

Why not hire a person who gleefully enrolled in a grammar, usage, and style class in college and who practices editing and writing skills everyday working with a variety of clients? A trained and skilled editor can keep you on message and write eloquent prose in a fraction of the time you would spend doing it. Think of how much more precise a trained photographer is at taking pictures and editing them than an amateur. That’s what an editor can do with your written communication.

You Need Someone to Put Thoughts to Paper

I recently worked with a client whose vision was clear but who had no idea how to articulate her concepts through words, delaying her from launching a new business. She called me one day with trepidation and excitement, unsure if I could help her but excited at the possibility of getting her thoughts on paper.

During our initial phone consultation, the client and I spoke about her concept, her audience, and her needs. Later, we met at a coffee shop and just talked. She told me about herself and her ideas for the business, and I wrote down key phrases and themes that kept appearing in the conversation. She gave me some handouts she had used for workshops that might help craft her message. After our meeting, I went home, compiled my notes and, in just a handful of hours, created web copy that conveyed her vision.

Imagine how long it would take you to create polished copy for a five-page website and think about whether it’s worth your time.

You Need Polished, Professional Prose

Not only can an editor make your thoughts and ideas come to life through words, he or she can also review your prose and correct grammar, usage, and style mistakes as a copy editor. A copy editor looks at the nuts and bolts of your writing and fixes it for obvious errors, grammar mistakes, and overall clarity, among other things.

The article “10 Reasons You Need a Copy Editor” by Whiterock Business Solutions articulates perfectly why you need a copy editor for your business:

There is nothing more embarrassing then promoting yourself or your company with materials that are riddled with typos, grammar mistakes, inconsistencies and poor sentence structure. How can a potential customer expect that you will do quality work when the materials you publish do not live up to the same level of quality.

An editor doesn’t seem like such an extraneous investment for your business now, does it?

I hope I’ve made my case for why every small business owner should utilize the services an editor provides. If you want to take your business to the next level, let’s talk about how I can make your written communication sparkle. Contact me at natalielsilver(at)yahoo(dot)com so we can start a conversation.