The Wordstitch Blog

- editing, business, and running an editorial business -


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’m also a freelancer for whom running a business is a pleasure, not a chore. I love thinking up new ideas and analysing my data to find out how best to put those ideas into practice.

This is where I think out loud about editing, business, and running an editorial business.

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Absolutely everything in my FY21/22 freelance annual report

By Hazel Bird | 4 May 2022

Last updated 15 November 2022 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…

A tangle of string symbolising the idea of making trouble for a client

Making trouble: using expert editorial judgement to hunt down issues

By Hazel Bird | 21 April 2022

Last updated 15 November 2022 ‘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…

Ruthless balance: are you protecting your freelance business?

By Hazel Bird | 22 March 2022

Last updated 9 March 2023 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…

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

By Hazel Bird | 27 October 2021

Last updated 11 April 2023 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…

Why freelancers should write annual reports

By Hazel Bird | 27 April 2021

Last updated 11 April 2023 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…

How to be a trustworthy freelancer

By Hazel Bird | 24 February 2021

Last updated 15 November 2022 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…

Trust and conquer: why you should trust your freelancers

By Hazel Bird | 17 November 2020

Last updated 15 November 2022 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…

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

By Hazel Bird | 25 August 2020

Last updated 15 November 2022 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…

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

By Hazel Bird | 11 August 2020

Last updated 15 November 2022 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,…

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

By Hazel Bird | 2 June 2020

Last updated 11 April 2023 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…

Editorial midwifery: why a love of language is not enough

By Hazel Bird | 12 May 2020

Last updated 15 November 2022 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…

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Keeping projects moving in a crisis by putting people first

By Hazel Bird | 23 April 2020

Last updated 15 November 2022 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…

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