Category Archives: freelancing

Pre-hiatus Update

Dear Bloggy Friends,

I must pause. Not to reflect, but to get everything else done.

We plan to close on our house on Sept. 8. Of course this has meant numerous phone calls, meetings, and appointments. We’ve got a lot of financial wrangling yet to do — buying appliances, applying for our government’s wonderful offer of $8,000, and much more. And at some point I need to start packing.

I’m registered for History 101, and have made myself known to much of the history faculty. In doing so, I got myself signed up to do a Public History internship, in which I will help research and fact check on an upcoming book celebrating the anniversary of the Idaho Museum of Natural History here on campus. In the future I might also assist with the scholarly journals the department produces. I saw the gleam in a few professors’ eyes when they heard I was an editor of scholarly humanities books, so that might be a source of future paying work, as well. And at some point before December I need to take the GRE and figure out who can write references for my grad school application.

The kids start school tomorrow. In trying to balance my work, my classes, and their needs, I’ve signed Napoleona up for after-care three days a week, so that I have the entire day free for work and my courses. But the other two days, I’ll be taking Anthropapa to work at 8:00, the kids to school at 8:30, returning to pick up Napoleona at 11:15, returning to pick up SillyBilly at 3:00, and picking up Anthropapa at 5:00. Clearly, we need a second car. And at some point I need to figure out when I can volunteer in the kids’ classrooms.

I’m plugging away on my current manuscript, an examination of the role of emotions in US history. Then I’ve got 2 or 3 more to do next month. The next few months will be a huge test to see who I can balance maintaining my work load along with going to school. And at some point I need to find some new clients.

I’m also volunteering as the Chapter Development Coordinator for the EFA. It’s not too onerous, but some days it seems to take up more than a few hours of otherwise precious time. I like contributing to the organization that has provided me with so many benefits, but right now it’s yet another thing in the mix. And at some point I need to write up all the policies and procedures that go with the job.

So, my friends. I can’t keep up. I can’t even get to read all of your wonderful blogs, no less comment thoughtfully. No less write my own blog posts. So I’m officially going on hiatus, until such time as I have enough time and energy to share. Retaining the right, of course, to pop up at any time randomly.





Filed under editing, Family, freelancing, life, Napoleona, papa, School, SillyBilly

Amazing Internet Synchronicity

I’m home with a sick little girl today — major digestive disruptions (or should I say, eruptions, all over the bed and in the underwear) last night and this morning. You know an almost-five-year-old is sick when she is lying on the couch for hours looking pale and grumpy.

So of course one part of my primitive brain center is screaming at me, “Swine flu, AAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!” Totally irrational, but there it is. She’s just got a stomach bug, and so she’s lying on the couch with a hot water bottle and sippy cup of chamomile tea.

On a seemingly unrelated front, I just opened a Twitter account and will be using it primarily for freelancing business and to promote the EFA (my personal promotion only, at this point).

Then this morning, these two aspects of my life came together in my feed reader:

So much of Twitter is like this. Not any of my followers, of course! Now I need to figure out how to put a Twitter widget in my blog do some editing.

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Filed under computers, freelancing, Health, Napoleona, Silliness and Mayhem


(You will have to bear with me here. I have lots going on and came up with this cute little structure for the post that will not let me cut anything out! So read on, all 1,400 words, if you dare. If not, I won’t blame you — aren’t blog posts supposed to be no more than 250 words so that the modern human can properly digest them?)

1. not calm or tranquil; disturbed; unquiet

I have recently begun attending the church affiliated with SillyBilly’s school. I can’t recall now why I went the first time; perhaps it was simple curiosity about the services or wanting to find a new social connection. But I realized that at least once during each service I was getting choked up, disturbed, unquiet. So I decided to keep going, to see what might come out of that unquiet.

Then I decided to take the pastor’s “Christianity 101” class on Monday nights. I’ve had a Bible since I was a little girl (and now own several) and went to Lutheran school for 5 years. Religion (or spirituality) has always interested me — I also attended Hebrew school for a short time as a girl and have studied Buddhism as an adult. I am the kind of person who will read the Gideon Bible in the hotel drawer instead of watching TV! So it’s not that I need to really learn what Christianity is. Rather, I’m interested in what this pastor has to say about this particular denomination.

The class often unsettles me. Missouri Synod Lutherans are fairly conservative. I’m partly conservative too — I much prefer the traditional service (hymns) to the contemporary service (praise band). But I believe enough of what I’ve read in Steiner’s cosmology and Christology to feel uncomfortable with many of mainstream Christianity’s views on eternal life, hell and heaven,and so on.

In any case I am enjoying the class and the Sunday services. I am enjoying taking Napoleona with me. I am even enjoying getting up early on Sunday and getting dressed up. And I’m enjoying my struggles with the disturbances to my thoughts on spirituality.

2. not decided or determined; inconstant; variable

This morning, when Napoleona and I went to church, it was sprinkling. A few hours later as we were finishing up in Sunday school, we heard some thunder and when we looked out the window, it was sleeting. Throughout the day we saw snow, sleet, and rain plus a few more peals of thunder. Evening has brought beautiful cloud formations with dashes of sun.

We made jokes on several occasions today about how it was springtime — yeah RIGHT! This is winter weather! But then we talked about how spring and autumn are really transitions between the main seasons of winter and summer — and even more so here in Idaho, with the cold and snow of winter and long, hot summers broken only briefly by these transitional times.

But come on! I just changed over our nature table to be all springy, with bunnies and flowers and such. What’s up with the snow???

3. not firm or steadfast in disposition or outlook; erratic; unstable

This weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to get together with some Waldorf homeschooling moms for an afternoon of crafting and chatting about parenting and Waldorf and anthroposophy. The ladies are all new to Waldorf and have little knowledge of the anthroposophical foundations, so I offered to chat about I’ve learned over the years. I also offered to show them how to make felted Easter eggs.

Now, this turned out to be quite the humbling experience. I discovered two things: I forgot the basics of felting and didn’t prepare by practicing or reading up on it. Our eggs were rather lumpy and were only rescued by extensive needle felting. And I discovered that while I feel that in my own head I have a sufficient grasp on basic concepts of anthroposophy, I can’t necessarily explain them well to others. So perhaps that’s telling me my grasp isn’t as good as I thought it was, or that I need to go back and re-read some basics to be clear on them again.

The ladies were quite forgiving (or unaware of my disconcerting feelings) and welcomed the idea of a regular study/craft group. Which will give me a structure to plan around so that I am better prepared and clear on what I’d like to say.

4. not living or staying in one place; nomadic

We are in the thick of summer planning right now. In past years, summers haven’t meant much in the way of change — the kids continued in their home-based day care, Anthropapa and I continued with our work, and the kids went for only short times at day summer camps. This year we have BIG plans.

Immediately after the school year ends, the kids and I will jet off to Los Angeles to visit with my parents. Both sets of parents have asked about Disneyland. I’m not automatically opposed to the idea, but I am opposed to my kids becoming embroiled in the Disney Industrial Complex’s marketing schemes. I think I could manage it so that we had a fun time doing age-appropriate things without focusing on buying character-driven products, but I’m not completely sure!

Then later in the summer the kids will be going out to the Seattle area to stay with other grandparents for a few weeks. Yes — they, the kids, will be staying. We, the parents, will not. We’ll take the drive out and do some things with the grandparents for a few days, and then we’ll leave them there for the grandparents to return to us later. Now, SillyBilly has stayed with his grandparents for a short time before, but we’ve never had both kids away and not for so long a time. I’m not sure what I’ll do with myself. (Other than sleep in, of course.)

5. not inhabited or populated

Over the last year or two I’ve developed a short list of editing clients: a scholarly publisher, a publisher with a scholarly imprint and a trade imprint, an author who has self-published several books, and a few authors working with a scholarly publisher that doesn’t offer editing services in-house. This has kept me steadily working with a good variety of projects and keeps me on my toes as far as working with different types of clients.

Over the last six months I’ve not worked with any authors — the one author took a break from his writing schedule, and for various reasons I haven’t gotten any work from the others. During the winter holidays the scholarly publisher slowed down quite a bit.

But . . . the two-imprint publisher approached me during the holidays with a new agreement. They had lost an in-house editor and wanted me to help them by taking an increased workload. They agreed to pay me a regular amount every single week (based on the budgets for all the projects combined) and I agreed to a rather full three-month schedule of editing and proofreading projects.

Now, the one thing I really dislike about freelancing is the uncertainty of my cash flow. This agreement has taken that out of the mix, and I feel like in a way I’ve died and gone to freelance editor heaven: according to the IRS, I am still freelancing because the publisher does not substantially control how I do my work, I am free to take other clients, I work off-site, they do not withhold taxes, and so on. And yet I am receiving a regular paycheck.

So now the only concern I have (because there has to be something to worry about, right?) is that I am letting my other clients slack a bit. I haven’t been bugging the scholarly publisher for new work consistently. I haven’t been seeking out new clients. This is making my client list a bit uninhabited, and the danger lies in the possibility that this wonderful agreement could come to a close and my cash flow will be in danger again. (This hasn’t happened so far, and in fact they just asked me to extend another three months. Whew!) But putting all one’s eggs in one basket is not a good idea in the freelancing world. So maybe when the kids area away I’ll drum up some new business, or learn a new skill I can add to my repertoire.

(Did you make it this far in my ramblings? Bless your patient soul!)
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Filed under Anthroposophy, Crafting, freelancing, life, Napoleona, papa, Religion, SillyBilly, travel, waldorf education

If It Looks Like a Duck…

I had such a different and pleasant day, I wanted to share it with all of you!

I spent the day, quite contentedly, in the guise of a college student. Our apartment building is receiving new siding, and the workmen had finally made their way to our section. Far too much random hammering and power-stapling to concentrate on editing. So I went back over to the university to work for the day.

I never knew, but my current mom-wear (jeans, t-shirt, Tevas) along with a backpack makes me appear just like a student. If I wanted to appear more like faculty or staff, or a spouse thereof, I would have to dress up a bit, and possibly get a briefcase.

The big hitch of the morning was finding parking. If you arrive here after 9 am, you are going to be circling and searching for a while. The parking gods smiled upon me, however, and I ended up with a perfect spot right in a central location.

My chosen work spot was in the hypostyle of the student union, looking out over the green and leafy quad. (And now that I’ve looked up the definition of that word, I’m not so sure it’s being used accurately by the university, as I recall no supporting columns inside the room. But no matter, it’s a nice room.) The one problem with this room is the severe shortage of power outlets. Evidently this building was constructed long before laptops became de rigueur student paraphernalia! I bided my time, and then as I returned from grabbing a snack in the café, one of the few spots near an outlet opened up. I was set for the morning.

At one point I heard children’s voices outside. Teachers were pulling wagons full of toddlers from the Early Learning Center through the quad. A few minutes later, older preschoolers were hurtling across the lawn, chasing and rolling over the grass. I got up and tried to see if Napoleona were out there, but I didn’t see her. Must be her class’s turn tomorrow.

Just before lunch, a family of six sat down next to me, and the mother eyed my bright orange Chicago Manual of Style (which I had to bring as I haven’t gone through the rigmarole to get an on-campus internet account and therefore access the manual online, as I usually do). She said that she was glad she knew what the book looks like, as her professor had recommended it. Then she asked me what my major was!

After a lovely lunch with Anthropapa, and a quick tour of the Craft Studio (low cost craft supplies! low cost classes! a room full of power woodworking tools! pottery wheels! woo hoo!), I returned to my spot in the hypostyle.

As I worked, an amazingly cliché scene played out two tables over: a rather large, football-playerish-looking young man struggled with algebra while a cute, long-haired young woman tutored him. He flirted earnestly, she giggled, and he cried out, “It makes sense! I don’t know whether to hug you or what!”

Later in the afternoon I walked over to the library to explore and set up an account. Oh, I was so excited to be in a university library again! Oh, the stacks of books. Oh, the fluorescent lighting! At least when I went to the circulation desk I could identify myself properly as a staff spouse, not a student, despite my attire and backpack. I found a fascinating little translation of excerpts from a late 14th-century manual a man wrote for his wife, on all things wifely, and a book about weaving. So far, I’ve learned that medieval wives should keep all their husband’s secrets, and when out walking in public you should “keep your head straight, your eyelids decently lowered and motionless, and your gaze eight feet directly in front of you and on the ground without looking around at any man or woman to the right or left, or looking up, or shifting your gaze unsteadily from place to place, or laughing, or stopping to talk to anyone in the street.” I’ll spare you the admonitions about how to act in church!

So, I had a good day, feeding off the studenty vibe and getting my work done in relative peace. Thank you Anthropapa, for bringing us into academia and letting me pretend to be a student for a day.

I spent so many happy hours in the library at UCI, just looking at random stuff. (OK, not so random, mostly stuff to help with SCA projects.)


Filed under Books, editing, freelancing, life, papa, Silliness and Mayhem

Soporific Jargon

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love my work. I get paid to read, and correct errors, two activities dear to my Virgo heart. And I have chosen and succeeded in the niche of scholarly book editing, so I get to read lots of interesting stuff that would never cross my path otherwise.

Once in awhile, however, I’m a little over my head, content-wise, although I had what I consider a strong liberal arts education: I studied several languages, history, art, literature, as well as a variety of hard and soft sciences.

One of my current projects is a book about the meaning, construction, and dissemination of contemporary cultural icons. Which is fascinating, of course — yet when liberally peppered with concepts of semiotics and hermeneutics, I start losing the ability to really follow the text as I edit. I can correct for spelling, grammar, sentence structure, etc., but don’t ask me to edit for meaning! (And, luckily, I’m not expected to.)

To give you a little idea of this experience (because I know you’re all so fascinated by all this), here’s the list of words I’ve corrected for spelling, hyphenation, etc. in this book so far:

Salt ‘n Pepa
West, Western (as in culture or society)

Whoo nelly. Luckily most of this dense theoretical stuff has been confined to the introduction, and the next few chapters have been interesting — one on Nelson Mandela and one on the Little Mermaid!

The last project I did was on anthropology and climate change, and the one before that was on social security created by religious networks. So, I’m usually fascinated … until the jargon makes me sleepy.


Filed under Books, editing, freelancing

Question for my Waldorfy Readers

And of course anyone who might have an opinion…

I’m mulling over the idea of writing something to sell as an e-book. Among the ideas I’ve had is something to do with native plants and/or animals. (I would have to stick with North America since that’s what I know, but I would love to expand it to other regions!) I’ve thought about doing a craft book about native plant flower fairies, for example, or something for homeschooling curriculum (seems like this would fit in well with 5th grade).

What do you think would be interesting/useful/successful?

Homeschoolers: is there any subject or format that isn’t already out there or could be improved? I know there are tons of curriculum guides, most quite good. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, so I’m thinking of something more topic-specific, like botany or crafting. On the other hand, so much of homeschooling seems to be about the family creating their own activities and curriculum, so how useful would something like this be?

Any advice on publishing and marketing e-books?


Filed under Books, Crafting, freelancing, Nature, waldorf education, Writing

Multiple Personas

I’ve been thinking about all the different online “personas” I have, after a recent conversation over on The Third Eve‘s blog.

I can think of several categories that I could organize my online personas into:

Waldorf/anthroposophy–including this blog, Yahoo groups,, and others

Professional–including this blog, LinkedIn, the EFA, Monster, the Copyediting-L Listserv, and others

Social networking–Facebook, Orkut, Ning, etc. (pretty much I only use Facebook at this point)

Fun stuff–this blog, Wikipedia, Project Gutenberg, Craftster, Flickr, etc.

I normally keep these worlds fairly separate. I identify my “real” name and self on some of these sites, but I keep my blog semi-anonymous. That used to be out of a vague fear for my kids’ safety, which I no longer believe is a big issue. But why keep them separate?

Waldorf and anthroposophy are, to be honest, fairly fringe in the larger scheme of things. My typical thought is something like “I don’t want any potential clients to think I’m some weirdo and not hire me.” But is that realistic? Is it really that weird, or is it simply something I’m interested in and since most people have never heard of it, it’s not an issue? Would anyone even care? I know of several freelance editors who have personal blogs that the freely link to, some of which are overtly political, for example. It doesn’t seem to affect their success.

I guess I just wonder about why my personal life should be connected in any way to my professional life. Why should I link my online selves in such a way that they should intersect at all? Why should my work life be in any way connected with my Flickr account, which is filled with photos of my kids and home?

This comes up for me especially in regard to marketing myself as a freelance editor. I’m using LinkedIn, the EFA, and other sources, but I wonder about putting up my resume (especially as I just revamped it and think it looks pretty cool!) or other details here on my Editing page. They say that the more places you are online, the higher your Google and other search engine rankings will be…and therefore the higher likelihood that people will contact you.

What say ye, O twelve loyal readers?


Filed under Blogging, computers, freelancing

Freelancing Pros and Cons

I’ve been reading some freelancer websites and online discussions lately, as part of my ongoing self-improvement strategy. I find that I need to look for inspiration in marketing myself, deciding on my rates, and all the myriad decisions I have to make since I am self-employed.

It’s a completely different mindset than either the corporate or the parenting world. In an office, typically you are part of a distinct hierarchy and have specific benchmarks for performance evaluation. You are paid a set salary and have predetermined job functions. With children, you have specific responsibilities, but there is a fairly wide range of activities and functions that change over time, and there are not very many specific benchmarks or tangible compensations.

I’m finding that freelancing is somewhere between these realms. I certainly have chosen a specific set of services that I offer clients, and I function as part of a larger hierarchy even if I don’t report to anyone in terms of performance evaluation (except informally). I set my own payment rates, within parameters for the job tasks and industry standards, but a large part of the compensations are intangible. Benchmarks are also somewhat personal, in terms of new skills acquired, enhanced accuracy and speed of my work, etc.

In general, I am enjoying being a freelancer very much. But I’ve been pondering what the pros and cons are, in the spirit of keeping flexible about what I am doing and why, and whether I would want to return to regular employment at any time (temporarily or permanently). Continue reading


Filed under editing, freelancing

Random craftiness

I’m still pondering my “SCA, part 2” post, so in the meantime I’ll share the following with you after uploading 95 photos off my camera:

Napoleona dressed herself as a little old woman the other day. Note the kerchief, and the block used as a cane.

She regularly dresses in this exact ensemble to play. Here she is doing a fairy dance.

SillyBilly and Anthropapa made this propeller contraption from an experiment described in a book about aircraft that they bought at the National Air and Space Museum. They took it outside and strung it up between two trees–it really flew fast!

We’ve tried to incorporate more items from nature in our toy stash. We brought in some larger rocks and bits of bark from the forest, which Napoleona used here to make a bridge over the river. The blue gnome is sailing on a little boat and will soon dock at the stony path leading toward his house.

Here’s Napoleona creating a “puppet play”. She does these almost every day, now that we brought in those forest items. Here she has made a house to the right, with a lovely yellow rug. And of course, the adjacent farm.

Last week the kids and I made these little people, posed here with a mama/grandma table puppet I made when SillyBilly was a very little baby. The kids helped sew up the green felt bodies and stuff them with wool, and they helped make the head shapes out of carded wool. When they weren’t looking, I needle-felted the hair on. Somehow, without us trying to, we made them resemble the kids themselves…down to the boy being taller and thinner and the girl being shorter and rounder!

I made bread today. Thanks to SusieJ’s review of the great book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day! I finally made it to the #1 spot in holds on this book at the library. I’ve always wanted to make sourdough starter and work with that, but so far it has eluded me. This method has worked great so far, and was as easy as they said it would be. I don’t have a baking stone, but it still came out OK. Next time I’ll be more careful of my oven temperature so that the crust gets truly brown, and I’d like to try the “healthier” recipes, since this was pretty much straight white bread. But, there is only one tiny chunk left–we devoured it for dinner!


Filed under Crafting, freelancing, Parenting, play, Silliness and Mayhem, waldorf toys

A Surprise Package

**Brag alert**

At lunchtime today Anthropapa brought home a smallish cardboard-wrapped package for me that had come in the mail. It was from one of the publishers I work for, which was odd because I normally only get paychecks in the mail from them, not anything that requires cardboard — all the editing is electronic.

I was intrigued, especially since the return address was not their editorial headquarters in NYC. A fulfillment warehouse, perhaps?

I cut open the box, and to my delight there inside was a beautiful, brand-spanking-new copy of the very first book I copy edited for them last April. And an invoice, which I was thankful said the copy was gratis, because the cover price is $90.00!

It was a little daunting to see that book in my hands. I have copies of other books I’ve edited, but this was the first one I had done for a “real” New York City publisher — not one that was published by people I know personally, for example.

Then I opened the book to take a look, and I noticed that I was mentioned in the acknowledgments. That really blew me away somehow.

I had always thought I was pretty much a cog in the great publishing machine. Most of the time, I am in email contact with the managing or production editor, or maybe just their assistant. I work at my little desk here at home, and zip off the files when they’re done. Sometime later, I get a check. I never interact with the authors directly (though I do sometimes work directly with authors, but then not through a publisher) and I always assumed I was sort of working anonymously.

This has reminded me that there are real flesh and blood people behind these books. Real authors — for this publisher, typically university professors — who have worked quite hard to get where they are, and who need to publish in order to advance their careers. And I am reminded that most of them are quite intelligent, intellectual people, who nevertheless might not understand every little grammatical or formatting quibble. And, that they are grateful that there are patient, persnickety editors like me who can help their thoughts read more clearly.

And about that cover price, you might ask? Well, I’m sure there are numerous commentaries out there in blogland about the hideous price of books. I’ll just say that, given the nature of publishing right now, and the probably fairly tiny projected sales of a book like this one (an analysis of a German art historian’s response to and involvement in the creation of public art in 1890’s Hamburg), the price really does probably cover costs. Now what are those real costs, in the face of on-demand publishing such as via

Dunno. I’m just glad they pay me.


Filed under editing, freelancing