Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What should I do in my down time?

If I ever get bored of reading or hiking or cycling or wine tasting or kayaking or any of the myriad things I do when I'm not working, what, oh what, should I do?

Well, one fictional editress I just read about seems to have found her down-time niche. Jane O'Connor wrote a book, Dangerous Admissions, about a freelance-copyeditor-cum-detective. This New York Times article spills the whole scoop.

This is uncannily like a book I just finished, Goodnight Nobody, by Jennifer Weiner, in which a reporter-turned-suburbanite-mom gets wrapped up in trying to unravel a murder mystery. It makes me wonder about the authenticity of people's ideas. But, no one can argue that a freelance editor is NOT a reporter, and I haven't read O'Connor's book to really see any true connections.

And I'm sure others have had this same thought, speaking of unique ideas. :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

An ex-editor singing our praises

This woman used to be an editor, and in this very well-written article explains what it is we really do:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A grammar funny for your Tuesday enjoyment

The For Better or For Worse cartoon in I think Sunday's paper was posted on the email lists I get, and I got a kick out of it mostly because at first I wasn't really amused by it, I was sort of disheartened. I feel like I repeat this same "joke" to myself all the time. But, I guess that's what's funny about it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Turning over a new leaf

Whoever says the life of an editress is boring doesn't know THIS editress! I've been jumping around the country, visiting friends, setting up shop from one coffee table to the next, and having a blast!

Freelancing is my calling. I absolutely love it. And, what's best is that while I was in the depths of despair, I got one of the best, most glowing responses from a client who asked me to take on an unorthodox project--one that another editor couldn't finish because of a personal emergency!

So, this was meant to be. Welcome to my new life, and let's look forward to the future! I feel like I'm finally getting to a good place.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Michigan in winter

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pay no attention to the glue behind the counter.

YES. The counter is installed. Soon to come will be the sink faucet, then disposal and water purifier, then dishwasher hookup, then all the plumbing will be done! Here are before (this morning) and after (2PM today):

The only unsightly bit is the old brown glue from where the linoleum was glued to the wall before (you can tell how far to the left the added cabinets go). Hopefully it won't affect the tile installation. Let's not think about it now...

Keep your cool with author dealings

Why don't authors write back to your queries? Why don't they write back to your email asking if your queries arrived? Are they too busy to care if publication is delayed? What's the deal?

I just went through a bit of author query anxiety, in that my due date of an article, with queries addressed, was rapidly approaching. It was the first of four I had edited and the first of four I had sent a query letter for. I requested responses in 5 days, and when 6 days passed I sent a follow-up. Still no response. Oh, no! What if he is out of town? What if he just doesn't care that [insert what I would call important issues to the article]? What author wouldn't care? In the meantime, I completed all 3 of the other articles (editing, querying, cleaning up) I had started after this one.

I only say he may not care because in my previous position, the fast-paced world of grant proposal editing, many times authors really don't care about consistency, because they don't have time to. They only care about a product getting out the door by a specific time by whatever means necessary. I can understand the utter exhaustion that proposal writers feel at the end of the project, when it's in an editor's hands. It has already been through so much in the review process that there can't be anything else wrong, right? Well, that's a question for another day.

So, anyway, I finally realized that I could find this author's phone number, so I called him. I remember a certain blog post by Katharine O'Moore Klopf (editormom, see my blog links) about being telephonophobic. I am certainly that, to a degree. But it's a good thing I broke down and picked up the phone, because he never received my emails! My Gmail address was I guess blocked from his server as an unknown entity. And, he did care! I sent the queries to his personal email address, and he answered them within 24 hours.

I didn't have too much to worry about, in that the article isn't slated for publication until several months from now, but after my long wait I got the article in on its projected editorial schedule! This is very satisfying to me. Ah.

So, I have reaffirmed for myself that the authors for this new gig of mine care a lot more about their articles than people trying to kick a 300-page proposal out the door (so they can get to writing the next one).

Counters and (future) tile backsplash

Another unrelated-to-editing post: The countertops were installed today! Actually, they're still installing them. But, I took a good closeup photo and want to see it next to what I think we might use for a tile backsplash:

Monday, January 08, 2007

Solution to "cat draping"

Beacuse the cat thinks she absolutely must be in my lap and none of the other soft places in the house, I've come up with a solution to her draping herself over my arm and hindering my work: the cat bed. It seems to be working, though she has made it clear that it is not her ideal solution (though she probably wouldn't have called it a problem to begin with). I guess if she gets tired of it, I can leave the bed on my lap and have a few cat-free moments to type.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


There's a story behind every cabinet. And four screws.

Taking a day off (it is Saturday, after all)

I just did some "spring cleaning," and I say spring because despite the fact that it's January, all of my windows are open and the thermostat is reading 70 degrees. Not too shabby for a Northeastern state. I made use of my AWESOME new Dyson vacuum, the purple "animal" version, which is just amazing. I mean, it was apalling to see what it picked up last week and this week (our old vacuum was apparently just moving dirt and fur around), but so satisfying to dump the vacuum container with one little click! So now I thought I'd post while I wait for my parents to come help wire outlets in our ever-improving kitchen.

In other improvement news, we got the final delivery of furniture courtesy of the in-laws that was in storage--piano, big TV for the basement, and a full mahogany dining room set. Now we are fully furnished (well, except for a kitchen counter and sink!). The movers did some "funny" stuff to the piano (like move it with one too few men), so I had my parents' long-time tuner come look at it, and he said all was A-OK. He also oohed and aahed over it. He looked it up in his book, and by the number on the piano determined that it was built in 1935. My grandmother-in-law bought it from friends in the late '40s, and my father-in-law and brothers proceeded to use it as a racecar track, so it was refinished (beautifully) within the past 20 years or so. It looks GREAT. Matter o' fact, here it is:

And, I've been working like crazy! Dear Husband is away for the next week, and I guess it's a good thing, because I've got so many projects going on in the next three weeks or so: magazine articles to write (2), social-science journal articles to edit (4), an impending education book to edit, and an upcoming flurry of proposal support for the research folks.

And, of course, I still try to hit my $1K power seller mark on eBay each month, but I'm not sure if I'll have time this month. If I don't keep it up, I lose power seller status. They do allow 1-month grace periods, but not two in a row. I may have to use it for January!

Parents just arrived (top down!) in the driveway...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hardwood: Before and After

Just a couple of photos. I am not responsible for the beautiful job that was done in my house today, except monetarily. :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oh, give me a home!

Our house isn't much of a home right now. There is not one bit of home-like anything in either our kitchen or dining room. The flooring folk will be installing floors on Thursday (how slowly can 2 days tick by?), and after that I can put back some of the furniture and get started on the cabinets. I have been eating straight out of the fridge, and making coffee in the laundry room!

Luckily I am completely swamped with work and don't have time to stare sadly at my oh-so-naked rooms. But you can! First you see the empty dining room, which I pulled the carpet out of, and then the kitchen before and after. My dad was a major factor in kitchen demo, as you'll see. The cat, too.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Chipka in the office

I thought I'd share a picture of how I work. It involves a cuddly yet very grumpy cat draped over my right arm, groaning/growling every time I move my arm to use the mouse, even sometimes "biting" me when my arm is somewhere she doesn't necessarily like or find comfortable. (I put "biting" in quotes, because this activity includes her opening her mouth, putting her teeth on my arm, and pushing. I say, "Hey!" or "Nooo" and she stops and licks me. Then it starts over. Speaking of starting over, putting her on the floor is also fruitless.) I remember reading a copyeditors' LISTSERV email someone posted months ago about how she solved a similar problem by buying a baby sling and putting the cat in it. I thought this was ridiculous at the time as I was still in an office, but I'm seriously considering it now.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Official open-ended freelance gig!

I had a phone call this afternoon with the publisher who thought I scored well on my editing test, and she asked what I was looking for, and when I said I was looking for a good "base project" for my freelance business, she said "well, that's what I can offer you"! Perfect! So, I'm going to start with about 15 hours a week, and maybe as I see that I'm really enjoying the work, I'll go for more (up to 40!). What a relief to have something STEADY, with a tangible "at least" number to hold onto as I fall into the abyss of not knowing what may or may not come down the pike in the future. That, for me, has been the hardest thing to get used to in freelancing so far. Especially now, while we're remodeling the kitchen and need all the cash we can find.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Great photo from The Onion.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch Changes

I'm already set up for work in the new house (my office is a bit sparse, but will fill out nicely with time!). Today I experienced one of many interesting differences between DC and suburban PA:

I am sitting at my desk, and I hear a series of pops. In DC, I would have said, "gun," and Ben would have said, no, it's maybe just a car backfiring, or a pellet gun. And we would leave it at that, hopeful that he was right but not wanting to say out loud that my instinct could have been the right one.

But I got up out of my chair today when I heard the pops, and in front of my house was actually an antique car backfiring.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Some very "DC" photos

Some classic photos of "DCness." I got awesome seats through work, in the 5th row off the 3rd base line (a few near misses for foul balls!). "Screech" even came over and took a picture with me, then took a picture OF me... then tried to abscond with our camera for laughs. Cute.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Decorating an office... what fun!

I am having all sorts of fantasies about my future office, which my generous husband is allowing me to create in what other homes would call the "living room," which no one ever really lives in. The living room at my parents' house was the most lived-in living room I can think of, and that's just because we gathered around the Christmas tree there and set up card tables at Thanksgiving for me and my brothers (the "kids;" we still sit there today... I wonder what will happen when all the nieces and nephews are required to sit with us for dinner, not at the TV). I also did my homework there as a kid, which makes my using the new living room as an office just a logical step.

Oh boy, do I want to make it stylish. I know I'm already getting the brass campaign desk from the in-laws, so I'll have to incorporate that. Actually, I just looked up "campaign desk," and I don't think that's exactly what they are giving me, but interestingly that's what they call it. But regardless, it's a nice desk and I'm thinking about putting a mirrored top on it. I've been looking at Design Public for their shelving. I'm also going to use this room to do my Murami business (not the heavy machinery stuff or resin pouring, but the filing, display, photography, and web work), so I want it to reflect Murami's style. Maybe some wallpaper? Ben might scrunch his nose at that, but we'll see. Really, the most important changes to the house at the moment involve the rear windows and the kitchen, so my office being "stylish" doesn't necessarily need to happen immediately. ;) I can visualize and fantasize and develop my plan of attack.

On the Domino Mag forum, along with the suggestion to cover filing cabinets with wallpaper (ooooh), I found a few resources:

See Jane Work


The Drapery on the home office in Philly (blog by a Philadelphia designer)

Great Setup for Startup

I've got a security blanket to cover me while getting other freelance work started. I'm going to continue working as an as-needed employee for my current employer from my new home. What a great deal! I'm so excited! So, I'll have this on top of the work for my previous employer (editing teacher resource books).

I'll take this good news to offset my sadness about putting my beloved cat to sleep on Friday.