Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Proofreader's Table

(From left to right, roughly)

Darling iPad, second love of my life.

Red pens, tiny Post-Its, napkins (why so many? I don't know), gift box containing a heart-shaped paperweight, binder clip.

Manuscript, thoughtfully hole-punched and put in a binder by my client.

Pack o' Post-Its atop a book-shaped decorative box holding more red pens, page flags, and other proofing miscellania.

Proofs of a book on educational equity in teaching K-8 mathematics.

Aged but still perfectly functional calculator on top of a page of notes about the proofs.

Tea mug: indispensable.


CMS (yes, I still use the 15th edition).

Page flags, white-out pen, red pencil.

Already-read pages, overturned.

(Table: our former dining table, the perfect size and shape for spreading out.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Transforming My Website

At the start of every year, I think about What I Need to Do Better, in both business and life in general. I'm not one to make real resolutions (because I'm not one to keep said resolutions), but I don't mind informally mulling over things I'd like to change.

Something I really needed to change was this site. People, my online resume had not been updated since 2011. This could not stand. I am revising my résumé page now; in the meantime, you'll find an up-to-the-minute, complete publications list (PDF format) in its place. (By the way, if you are looking for an easy way to link to a file, I suggest signing up for a Dropbox account and using Dropbox's new Links feature to create a custom link you can copy and paste into a tweet, blog post, or webpage.)

Another site-related change: how I use the blog. I have been an... infrequent blogger. I'd like that to change, but I've realized that I will probably never be a regular blogger if I stick to editing- and writing-related topics. Others are simply better at blogging on these subjects than I am. They keep up with the happenings in the publishing world; they read books that are less than five years old; they link to content as it's going viral, not a week after even your grandmother thinks it's played out. I'm not great at those things. But there must be something I can do particularly well, right? That thing is probably writing about, well, me.

But there are a couple of problems with that. First, this is a blog for my business. I assume you're here because you're looking for an editor or proofreader. You probably aren't interested in the details of my life--and I'm not sure I should be sharing them with the world. And that is the second problem. I am a very private person, and my image as a businessperson is a pressing concern. I'm not sure I have the guts to post about politics, personal issues, or the embarrassing books I read before bed. I want you to think of me as a competent professional, and I'm not sure that posting about, say, my favorite young adult book series does much to further that perception.

The thing is, however, that I can think of only two people in the editorial field who a) blog only about editing, proofreading, and writing AND b) update regularly. Other editors and proofreaders blog irregularly, or write about a variety of personal topics in addition to writing about their work. Some do this extraordinarily well, engaging readers by letting them into their lives and talking about the business of editing. Can I do that? Do I want to do that?

I started writing this post days ago and still don't have an answer to those questions. What I think I will do, for now, is write some more posts that are only kinda-sorta related to editing and writing. If I enjoy it and it helps me add new content more regularly, then I just may keep it up.