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.


We are already surviving

By Hazel Bird | 23 March 2020

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.

People shaking hands while standing on others' shoulders

Psychological safety in editorial work: better results through empowerment

By Hazel Bird | 10 March 2020

Last updated 15 November 2022 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…

A woman with her hands in the air and shrugging her shoulders, and with many different hats piled on her head.

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

By Hazel Bird | 9 July 2018

Last updated 18 May 2023 In the editorial world, it’s generally thought that the person who copyedited 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…

A black and white photo of a woman hiding her face behind a piece of paper with a face drawn on it with marker pen. The drawn face is winking and has a wry expression.

Sending difficult feedback on a messy editorial project

By Hazel Bird | 18 June 2018

Last updated 20 April 2023 At some point (hopefully very rarely), every proofreader and copy-editor will find themselves working on a project where it seems that somebody, somewhere, at some point, dropped the ball in a big way. As a copy-editor, you might discover that the developmental editor seems to have let through major inconsistencies…

A man sitting at a desk and shouting into an old-fashioned dial telephone.

When editorial project managers expect too much

By Hazel Bird | 22 May 2018

Last updated 1 June 2023 I recently received a thought-provoking comment from a fellow freelance editorial professional who has been working alongside me on a project I’ve been managing. The projects I manage are often very large (hundreds of thousands or even millions of words), and there are inevitably hiccups that arise and have to…

Bubble chart snapshot example of how to visualise your clients’ value to your business

How to use bubble charts to get a snapshot of your clients’ value to your business

By Hazel Bird | 1 May 2018

Last updated 29 June 2023 If you’re like me, you keep meticulous records of all of your projects, including hours worked, hourly rates, speed of work and so on. It’s easy to quickly rack up a lot of data, but data is no good if it’s not put to practical use. I do various ongoing…

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How to close editorial projects effectively

By Hazel Bird | 11 April 2018

Last updated 6 April 2023 I recently read a helpful post (with handy infographic) on how to close a project by Elizabeth Harrin of the Rebel’s Guide to Project Management blog. Although I get a lot out of reading project management blogs, the tips don’t always straightforwardly translate into the kind of work I do,…

A woman with an exaggerated quizzical face, holding a magnifying glass so that her left eye appears extremely large

Proofreading pitfalls: nine tips to improve your proofreading strategy

By Hazel Bird | 12 March 2018

Last updated 15 June 2023 The basics of proofreading are easy, right? You read through the text and mark errors to be corrected. Simple. But of course, as any experienced proofreader knows, that’s not the whole story. A proofreader has to carry out numerous tasks to do with technical aspects, style and sense – not…

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Plagiarism: how to spot it and what to do about it

By Hazel Bird | 24 March 2017

Last updated 15 November 2022 Whether it’s done accidentally, unthinkingly or with malice aforethought, plagiarism is a perennial problem in publishing. Sometimes it might result from an author’s genuine ignorance of the rules and conventions surrounding the reproduction of others’ work; sometimes it might be a shortcut (for example, if an author is commissioned to…

Monetising feedback and embracing fragility

Capitalising on feedback and embracing fragility

By Hazel Bird | 9 January 2017

Last updated 15 November 2022 Not long ago, I met up with three old university friends who are all employed by (or have been employed by) large public-sector organisations. Their work environments (the support and demands of a corporate structure; the necessity of wearing shoes with rigid soles) couldn’t be more different from mine (the…

Macros, wildcards and editorial project management

By Hazel Bird | 13 December 2016

Last updated 11 April 2023 I’m delighted to have been asked to contribute to three other blogs this year. This is a roundup of those posts and also serves to introduce my rewritten and redesigned website, now at a new home at I’d love to know what you think of the new design – please…

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#sfep16: reflections on the 2016 Society for Editors and Proofreaders conference

By Hazel Bird | 13 September 2016

Last updated 15 November 2022 I spent the weekend just gone in Birmingham at the 2016 Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) conference – my fourth. There were over 30 hours of excellent CPD and networking opportunities, and I’ve emerged re-invigorated and with plenty of new ideas for my business and personal development, if a…

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Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, UK