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Copy-editing?

When I was exploring options for a career in freelance writing, I discovered there are people out there who provide copy-editing and proofreading services to businesses, to publishers and to students writing theses and dissertations. I knew what proofreading was, and thought I was pretty good at that. Over the course of my engineering career, I had always enjoyed proofreading my colleagues’ documents before they issued them. But, copy-editing?                                     The term was unfamiliar. However, once I found a definition, I realised that copy-editing was also what I did when checking my colleagues’ reports and letters, and that part of the checking was...

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How to find your inner wordsmith, and why you need to.

(This article of mine was originally published on LinkedIn on 19 September 2019, and I've given myself permission to reproduce it in full here. I used US English in this article.) Before I get started, let’s get one thing clear. It’s highly likely that I’m not talking about you, specifically. The chances of that are very small. I’m not talking about your inner wordsmith. I’m talking about the wordsmith within your organization. Or department, depending on the size of your organization. Which raises a very big question: Question #1: Does my organization have a wordsmith in its ranks? Forget official job descriptions and company hierarchy. Forget KPIs and targets. Those things will take care of themselves if your organization is, well, well-organized. The role I am...

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"Looks good to me. Let’s send it."

I have always had an eye for detail. Especially when it comes to spelling. Or, rather, misspelling. Too many times have I come across absolute "clangers" when browsing an online newspaper or other website. Does anybody else share my incredulity at the frequency at which significant typos appear? I am sympathetic, though. Journalists might be a dying breed, and quick content seems to be the norm, so I don’t think many human proofreaders are employed any more. But sometimes even the spell check function doesn't seem to have been employed. I mean, some of those misspellings can be horrendous! One day back in April, I was flicking uninterestedly through a trade newspaper in the company lunchroom. As I turned a page, my brain registered that something was...

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Professional Engineer retires, launches writing business

Two months ago, I handed in my hard hat, my Hi Vis vest and steel-capped boots, walked out of the office and away from my structural engineering career. Those items handed back were physical yet symbolic, but asking to have my name removed from the Chartered Professional Engineer register had a true note of finality to it.   (Before I continue, a word about this picture. I did not wear ill-fitting suits. My hard hat was white. And I did not work on multi-storey building projects. However, I have taken my hard hat off for the last time, and it was the sunset of my career.) I’m now trying to decide how to describe my status when people ask me. Am I "retired before...

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