WORDSTITCH BLOG

Because I work as both a project manager and a supplier of copyediting and proofreading services, I see projects from multiple points of view. This helps me to see the big picture and the details – the broader project requirements and each stakeholder’s individual concerns – and thereby seek solutions that satisfy everybody.

I aim to see the wood and the trees.

Here, I use these perspectives to write about how editorial professionals can become ever better partners to their clients.

Working in an editorial team Part II: copyeditor, typesetter or designer, proofreader and indexer

By Hazel Bird | 25 Aug 2020 |
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For an editorial project to meet its goals, multiple people (sometimes many) need to work together, but potentially without ever actually communicating with each other. This requires each person to have a clear understanding of their role in the process and the ripples (good or bad) they can create for others in the editorial team. Part I of this article gave some suggestions on how the author, developmental editor and project manager can contribute to…

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Working in an editorial team Part I: author, developmental or structural editor, and project manager

By Hazel Bird | 11 Aug 2020 |
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I almost called this article ‘How to Avoid Screwing Things Up in an Editorial Team’, but the SEO gods said it was too long. However, that’s essentially what this article and its follow-up are about. All editorial projects require collaboration. The simplest might only involve an author and a proofreader, whereas the most complex can involve many more people working together in an editorial team. For any project to turn out well, these people need…

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PMP or PRINCE2: which is most valuable as an accreditation for an editorial project manager?

By Hazel Bird | 02 Jun 2020 |
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Arrows depicting a choice between two alternatives

PMP (Project Management Professional) and PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) are two of the most popular and highly ranked project management certifications worldwide. But how are they perceived in the editorial and publishing world, and which would be most valuable to an editorial project manager seeking work? I’m planning to complete one of these qualifications over the next year, but I wanted to be sure I was choosing the right one for my industry, where…

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Editorial midwifery: why a love of language is not enough

By Hazel Bird | 12 May 2020 |
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It’s not uncommon to hear editors alluding to what they do as a kind of midwifery. Editors (for which read ‘copyeditors’ and ‘proofreaders’ throughout) help clients to ‘birth’ books – to bring them into the world in the healthiest and best-prepared state they can, with the minimum possible fuss, mess and pain. They support clients (parents), listening carefully to their desires for their book (birth plan) and doing their utmost to make those desires a…

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Keeping projects moving in a crisis by putting people first

By Hazel Bird | 23 Apr 2020 |
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Pause symbol and play symbol

As we’re all currently discovering, sometimes all the determination, foresight and savvy in the world cannot prevent a project from being brought to its knees – or, far less dramatically, being rendered irrelevant with breathtakingly savage immediacy. But even in these difficult times, many projects are going ahead. And in more normal times too, a less existential but still very serious crisis can threaten to overwhelm a project that might otherwise have been able to…

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We are already surviving

By Hazel Bird | 23 Mar 2020 |
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Lighthouse

Freelancers inhabit a world of paradoxes. These paradoxes show us how when a huge shock hits, we may worry about how we will survive, but in a sense we are already surviving.

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Psychological safety in editorial work

By Hazel Bird | 10 Mar 2020 |
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People shaking hands while standing on others' shoulders

HBR defines psychological safety as allowing for ‘moderate risk-taking, speaking your mind, creativity, and sticking your neck out without fear of having it cut off’. In the professional sphere, it’s about trust, openness and confidence that we will receive a reasonable and proportionate response when we raise questions or concerns with our colleagues. As a project manager, it’s something I try to establish in all my projects. And it’s a concept that I think we…

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Disengage, re-engage: 13 tips for proofreading text you’ve already copy-edited

By Hazel Bird | 09 Jul 2018 |
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In the editorial world, it’s generally thought that the person who copy-edited a text shouldn’t also be the person to proofread it. This is a sound rule to follow wherever possible: a proofreader is often referred to as a ‘fresh pair of eyes’, and this freshness can be invaluable. In the same way that an author can become blind to the errors in their own work through overfamiliarity, a copy-editor tends to lose that ‘edge’…

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Difficult feedback: should you send it and, if so, how?

By Hazel Bird | 18 Jun 2018 |
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Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, UK