KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Monday, May 27, 2013

How to Survive Summer Break When You're a Parent and Self-Employed

Many editors choose self-employment because they want to have more time with their families. But how can you as a freelancer enjoy some quality time with your school-age children during summer break and still get work done?

Hold a family meeting to discuss everyone's needs during the summer. Talk about daily schedules, child care plans, the children’s plans, and your work plans. Discuss with your partner, if you have one, how having the children around more often for the summer will affect work for the two of you, and if necessary, make arrangements for temporary changes in how you handle child care.

Consider reducing your expectations for how much work you'll get done during the break. After all, the children's time off offers you a chance to relax a bit too. If you reserve a part of each workday for doing something fun with them, this will help them realize that you'll always make time for them, so they'll be more inclined to give you quiet time for concentrating on work.

Discuss home-office rules with your children:

  • Who is allowed to answer calls to your business land line or cell phone?
  • How is everyone to act when you must be on the phone with a client?
  • How will you signal when you're available versus unavailable to talk with family members?
  • How is each person to handle any emergencies that come up during work time?

Work with everyone in your household to put together a daily schedule for the summer break. Yes, it should be flexible for when unexpected chances for fun come up—say, a trip to the beach or a museum. But a schedule will let everyone know what to expect and will increase the likelihood that you'll get the time you need for work.

You may want to schedule time each workday for the children to read by themselves while you’re working. This will increase their reading skills and give you more time for concentrating on editing.

Consider planning some time each workday for the children to be out of the house, so that you have uninterrupted quiet time. You can trade child care days with friends or nearby relatives: They host your children on some days, and then you host their children on other days. Also, sending the children to local day camps that meet their interests (such as acting camp, science camp, art camp, robot-building camp, cooking camp) may be a good choice, depending on your budget.

Schedule workday lunches with the children. They'll look forward to this time with you, and you'll get a break from work. Lunch doesn't have to be indoors. If you picnic outdoors nearby, all of you will get time together and some healthy vitamin D from the sunshine. And getting away from editing for a while will mentally refresh you.

Most important, though, is that you not be too hard on yourself during summer break if things don't always go as planned. I've been editing with my children around for 18 years now, and I'm still refining how I handle it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

News You Can Use

Every morning, I make the rounds to keep up with editorial news. These are my sources, in the order I consult them:

  1. Copyediting newsletter (its blog and Twitter account)
  2. .
  3. Posts on dedicated blogs, Facebook, and Twitter by the staff of style guides: AMA Manual of Style (blog AMA Style Insider and Twitter account); Chicago Manual of Style (Facebook page and Twitter account); the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Style Blog and Twitter account); Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (Twitter account); and Associated Press Stylebook (Twitter account)
  4. .
  5. Posts on Facebook and Twitter by members of several editing professional associations, including the Editorial Freelancers Association (Facebook page and Twitter account), the American Medical Writers Association (Facebook page and Twitter account), the American Copy Editors Society (Facebook page and Twitter account), the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (Facebook page and Twitter account), and the Council of Science Editors (Facebook page and Twitter account)
  6. .
  7. My editorial pro peeps on Twitter

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Award-Winning Author

Breaking news! A Dream of Daring, the most recent novel by my longtime author, all-around good person and excellent storyteller Gen LaGreca, has won 2 Indie Book Awards! The book is an excellent read about the clash between advancing technology and the institution of slavery in pre–Civil War America.

Below is a screen shot of the lovely e-mail Gen sent to me about the awards. In case you can't easily read her message, here's what it says:

Hey Kathy,

The first 2013 awards contest has weighed in, and we won in two categories! I say WE because I could not have done this without your superb editing!

(Other contest results will follow in the next 12 months, so stay tuned. The Indie Book Awards people have officially notified the winners and told us that the 2013 contest results will post on their website by May 31.)

All the best from your appreciative author,

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Relationship Book That Speaks Layperson

Being a medical editor, I edit a lot of medical-journal manuscripts. Even the book manuscripts that I edit are mostly written for health-care professionals and so are very technical. But a recent one—We Are All From Uranus: How to Have Out-of-This-World Relationships—speaks layperson, meaning that it talks like we regular folks do in our everyday lives. And that's a huge strength.

I'll bet that like many people, some of you reading this blog post have been in relationship therapy. I have. And one thing I found intimidating about the process is all the jargon. To be in therapy, it seems you have to learn a new language. But the authors of WAFU (that's their nickname for the book) toss around very little jargon. Reading the book, you get the feeling that you're talking with old friends—friends who just happen to have some excellent advice for how to get your intimate relationships back on track. Working on personal relationships is tough enough, but the authors' approach doesn't add to that inherent difficulty. With plain language and humor, they make that tough work seem doable. In discussing an exercise for readers to engage in with their partners to get practice in speaking up about what actions they do or do not want in their relationship, the authors write:

Do this exercise with your partner until they cry uncle—and then do it once more. Continue to work on eliminating your own [problematic] beliefs. ... You are learning to negotiate and communicate. It might even lead to conscious cooperation. It might even start to happen accidentally, out of habit. Look, Ma, no hands!

When people focus on relationship difficulties, they can sometimes start seeing the world as a rather gloomy place, so the authors' humor is a refreshing relief:

Now step back just for a minute and think about all you have learned and accomplished so far. Can you believe it? You are becoming a summa cum laude black-belt relationship master! Keep up the good work, and continually remind yourself of how far you've come since we started! You can even pat yourself on the back if you'd like. You see, flexibility can come in handy.

But don't let the humor fool you. Charles E. Bailey is a physician, general psychiatrist, and clinical researcher. Though he and his coauthor, Rebecca Lane, have a down-to-earth writing voice, there is plenty of solid advice in the book.

We Are All From Uranus: How to Have Out-of-This-World Relationships, by Rebecca Lane and Charles E. Bailey, MD, from the Global Institute for Scientific Thinking. Paperback (ISBN: 978-1936264230; US$16.77); 190 pages.

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