WORDSTITCH BLOG

Because I work as both a project manager and a supplier of editorial 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 forest and the trees.

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

Why editors should know about PRINCE2

By Hazel Bird | 14 Jun 2022 |
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White jigsaw puzzle pieces on a grey background

It’s rare to hear clients or editorial project managers explicitly talk about using PRINCE2 (or indeed any specific project management methodology). So why should editors should know about PRINCE2? Well chances are, you’re probably already using PRINCE2’s ideas in much of your editorial work – even if you’ve never heard of it. I know this because, having spent the past couple of years getting myself qualified as a PRINCE2 Practitioner, I’ve had plenty of time…

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Absolutely everything in my FY21/22 freelance annual report

By Hazel Bird | 04 May 2022 |
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A woman holding a mug reading 'Like a boss'

Last year I posted about my first experience of writing an annual report for my freelance business. I found the exercise invaluable for the clarity it gave me, so clearly I was going to repeat it this year. In doing so, I reflected on last year’s findings and added some more topics, and the result was even more helpful and inspiring than last year’s. This post is therefore a kind of update to last year’s,…

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Making trouble: using expert editorial judgement to hunt down issues

By Hazel Bird | 21 Apr 2022 |
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A tangle of string symbolising the idea of making trouble for a client

‘Don’t make trouble’ is an edict that we often hear as children. Making trouble means being difficult. It raises unnecessary issues. It causes aggravation. It wastes time and thereby costs money. The idea of making trouble also goes against a core principle that proofreaders and copyeditors learn early on: if something’s good enough, don’t change it (sometimes phrased as ‘leave well enough alone’). But what if making trouble is just what an editorial project needs?…

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Ruthless balance: are you protecting your freelance business?

By Hazel Bird | 22 Mar 2022 |
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The idea of protection might sound like something that only applies to ‘proper’ businesses. If your only employee is your dog and your physical assets principally consist of a temperamental PC and a slightly wonky desk and chair that you bought at IKEA in 2008, what do you have to protect? Well, first of all, if you’re a freelancer with one or more clients, you are a proper business, whether you like it or not.…

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Here be monsters: what I’ve learned from editing 20 million words of reference works

By Hazel Bird | 27 Oct 2021 |
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On the rim of the editorial world, out beyond the well-travelled shipping lanes of non-fiction, the jostling flotillas of novels and the bustling reefs of academia, is a fabled area of publishing rarely glimpsed by the everyday reader or writer. Here dwell academic encyclopedias, catalogues and other major reference works (often called MRWs) – leviathans that dwarf much of the rest of the publishing world in their scope, cost, timescale, demandingness and sheer ambition. I…

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Why freelancers should write annual reports

By Hazel Bird | 27 Apr 2021 |
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This year, for the first time, I wrote an annual report for my freelance business. But wait, isn’t that a bit of a paradox – a freelancer writing an annual report? Surely annual reports are designed to be shared with government, shareholders and the media (entities unlikely to have much interest in the average freelance business)? Surely they are abstruse, tedious things written only because they are compulsory? They don’t have to be. Freelancers may…

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How to be a trustworthy freelancer

By Hazel Bird | 24 Feb 2021 |
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What’s your most precious asset as a freelancer or small business owner? I’ll give you some hints. It’s not your qualifications or professional memberships. Up to a point, anybody with enough tenacity and funding can acquire those. It’s also not your website or portfolio. Again, however informative they are and however long they took you to build, there will be many other freelancers out there with credentials that are just as impressive. And it’s not…

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Trust and conquer: why you should trust your freelancers

By Hazel Bird | 17 Nov 2020 |
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In today’s volatile business world, businesses are increasingly looking for ways to be agile rather than fragile. One way of achieving this is to use freelance talent to quickly source resources when – and only when – they are needed. This model sees groups of people come together to carry out a specific project and then part ways when the project is complete. At its best, this model allows a business to quickly and efficiently…

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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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Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, UK