Category Archives: Social media

Definite articles: CIEP social media picks, February and March 2022

Welcome to the first edition of ‘Definite articles’, our social media team’s pick of internet content, most of which are definitely articles, for editors and proofreaders. If you want our pick of our own recent content, head straight for ‘CIEP social media round-up: February and March 2022’.

In this column:

  • Special days and news events
  • Reading recommendations
  • Thinking about language
  • Dashes, slashes and book stashes

Special days and news events

There were a number of special days during February and March 2022. On 11 February, the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we shared Cambridge Dictionaries’ look at how we talk about science, and on 8 March, International Women’s Day, we encouraged our friends and followers to read about Hidden Sci-Fi Women of the OED, from Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle upon Tyne, to Storm Constantine.

3 March was World Book Day, as many parents scarred by this annual festival of competitive literary costume-creating will know. We gave them a non-costume-based chance to get their kids into literature by posting National Geographic’s ‘Seven literary destinations around the UK to inspire children’, which included Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, the inspiration for AA Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood, and (checks notes) Scotland. Which sounds as if National Geographic might have forgotten that Scotland is a large and varied country until you read that 2022 is Scotland’s Year of Stories.

Not long after World Book Day was World Poetry Day, and to celebrate this we posted ‘A little light verse’ by Brian Bilston: a poem in the shape of a lightbulb, which considers how many poets it would take to change one.

And we looked forward to a very special day in the summer: the Queen’s Platinum, er, ‘Jubbly’? As all sorts of souvenirs and memorabilia started to emerge in preparation for the big event on 2 June, the BBC ran a story about a particular set of crockery that celebrated ‘the Platinum Jubbly of Queen Elizabeth II’. ‘I would love to buy one of these pieces!’ declared a follower on LinkedIn. Well, move fast: there are only 10,000 available and they’re fast becoming collectors’ items, partly because of their Del Boy connotations. ‘Cushty’, as one Facebook follower observed.

The news wasn’t great during these two months. Publishing Perspectives published an interview with a Ukrainian publisher, Julia Orlova, who described the working conditions in early March for her publishing house, Vivat, and her determination to continue producing books for those in Ukraine who needed them. ‘“We provide electronic versions of books for children who are now staying with their parents in shelters,” she says. “And some of our staff continue to edit manuscripts whenever possible. We try our best not to stop the process of creating books.”’

Also in early March came the news that Shirley Hughes, children’s author and illustrator, had died. Hughes was famous for her character Alfie, among many others, and our followers paid tribute: ‘Wonderful author and illustrator. I’ve loved her books since they were read to me by my parents, and I love them even more having read them to my own children, and to the children I’ve looked after for many years. Reminiscent of a simpler and less frantic time.’

As is often the case at this time of year, the weather made news too. As Storm Eunice took hold in mid-February, we posted ‘The problem of writing poems on a wild, stormy day’ by Brian Bils … sorry, the rest of the name seems to have blown away. Who was the poet? We may never know.

Reading recommendations

At the beginning of February we posted a story from the Washington Post about a reading recommendation: by eight-year-old Dillon Helbig, of his own book, entitled The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis and signed ‘by Dillon His Self’. Dillon took his book on a visit to his local library with his grandma and while he was there slipped it onto one of the shelves. The library manager said: ‘I don’t think it’s a self-promotion thing. He just genuinely wanted other people to be able to enjoy his story … He’s been a lifelong library user, so he knows how books are shared.’ Dillon got his wish. The book has been officially added to the library’s collection and can be borrowed. In fact, there’s a long waiting list.

This lovely story was a good start to a couple of months during which we shared a whole host of reading recommendations, from 12 books to read in celebration of America’s Black History Month to the overlooked masterpieces of 1922, magical books you’ll keep coming back to, ten new books to read in America’s Women’s History Month, what TikTok’s book reviewers are recommending and the longlist for the International Booker Prize.

We also enjoyed The Guardian’s series ‘Where to start with’, and posted its pieces on the works of Agatha Christie and James Joyce.

Thinking about language

As if considering the works of James Joyce wasn’t already giving our language-processing centres enough of a workout, article after article about the meanings and implications of language was posted by our tireless social media team. These included new terms such as swicy (sweet and spicy) and seaganism (‘the practice of eating only plant-based foods and seafood’), and the use of light verbs which ‘get their main semantic content from the noun that follows rather than the verb itself’. Examples are take as in ‘take a walk’ or do as in ‘do battle’. There was a moderate reaction to this among our thoughtful followers, but no one made a comment.

We explored the taste of words in how food is written about, and also in the experience of synaesthesia, where ‘words have an associated physical experience as well as a meaning’. Occasionally that association can be flavour. Someone who knows all about this is James, who describes journeys on the London Underground when he was a child. Tottenham Court Road was his favourite stop: ‘“Tottenham” produced the taste and texture of a sausage; “Court” was like an egg – a fried egg but not a runny fried egg: a lovely crispy fried egg. And “Road” was toast. So there you’ve got a pre-made breakfast.’ Fascinating. And delicious.

We are always looking to learn more about inclusive language. Early in February we posted a piece about a new gender-neutral pronoun, ‘hen’, in Norwegian, and then a few weeks later we shared an OED panel discussion, ‘Language prejudice and the documentation of minoritized varieties of English’, and a response to it by CIEP member Robin Black.

Bringing new and inclusive language together, we posted an article explaining what it means to be ‘out of spoons’. Spoons have become a metaphor for energy, Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty explained, which is particularly useful in helping people with a disability, condition or chronic illness explain what their lived experience is like; for example, they might start the day with only a certain number of spoons, and with every activity they might lose one or more of these spoons. Fogarty explored how the concept has proven so useful that it has become widespread, with a new self-named ‘spoonie community’ and the use of the term as a verb, as in ‘spooned out’.

Dashes, slashes and book stashes

Our social followers enjoy a quiz and we’re only too happy to oblige. During February and March 2022 we posted quizzes on dashes and slashes (both courtesy of CMOS), and book stashes: ‘How well do you know your library quotes?’ One notable quote that didn’t feature in this quiz was ‘Librarian, Happy Easter X’, a message that landed in a pink bag in Cambridge University Library, along with two priceless missing notebooks belonging to Charles Darwin, in March. After careful verification of the notebooks the story broke in early April, which is too late for our February and March survey but, a bit like Dillon Helbig’s home-made library book, it’s far too good a story not to include in our collection.


Join us again in June (after the Jubbly) for our pick of April and May’s internet gems, or if you can’t wait you can always follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. See you online!

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: fruit by Lukas, storm by Diziana Hasabekava, spoons by Vie Studio, all on Pexels.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

CIEP social media round-up: February and March 2022

In February and March we considered the importance of applying editorial judgement, promoted a new guide, and reflected on change: whether it’s small (the daffodils are out!), planned for (switching to editing a new genre) or hugely unsettling (Russia’s invasion of Ukraine), it’s something that’s hard to escape. 

All about editorial judgement

We shared some engaging new blog content from CIEP members in February and March with the theme of making editorial judgements. This coincided with the release of a new fact sheet on this very subject – free for CIEP members.

On any working day, an editor could be making several different types of decisions. At the most basic level, a common editorial judgement is deciding whether to make a correction or not. A more difficult decision can be whether something is good enough, which depends on client expectations, budget, time constraints, the needs of the end user and – as always – the context.

How important is the style sheet? Do we understand what the client wants, or are we second-guessing? What are the red flags to look out for before accepting or rejecting a job? The all-encompassing art of editorial judgement reveals itself in almost every thread on the CIEP’s member forums.

And we also have to guard against making unfounded assumptions, which might happen when a text you’re working on is outside your subject expertise or lived experience. Is the language inclusive, and how should we query it with the writer if it isn’t? Nicholas Taylor shared Alex Kapitan’s seven principles of editing outside our own life experiences.

Sue Littleford considered how the critical skill of editorial judgement could be applied to running your editorial business. Before you take on the work, you’re judging whether the text and the client are a good fit for you. What should you charge? How long will it take and will you be able to fit it around other work? Freelancers also need to make branding and marketing decisions. Sue’s article was a treasure trove of expert advice.

Can we rely on tech to help us in our judgements? We shared Andy Coulson’s considerations on the options available for automating style sheets. Computers are very good at following rules and recognising consistency, but editors have to make decisions based on those results.

In her Finer Point series, Cathy Tingle discussed how to navigate the nuances of title case in headings, and in the process discovered the importance of editorial judgement in these decisions. This was a popular post that really got our members debating and discussing capitalisation!

A new guide for science editing

We promoted a new guide on social media in February: Editing Scientific and Medical Research Articles by Dr Claire Bacon.

This guide tells editors all they need to know to help scientists get their research papers ready for publication, explaining how a research article should be structured and giving a step-by-step guide to editing each section, including tables and figures. The elements of scientific style are also explained, together with common problems editors may encounter and how to solve them.

Change

Change was a recurring theme in the CIEP resources that we shared on our social media channels in February and March. Any freelancer has to be prepared to embrace change and keep progressing in their work. We can hope the change is gradual and positive, but sometimes we’re presented with an opportunity that is less of a learning curve and more of a learning catapult. You at least hope for a soft landing.

A new direction

Advanced Professional Member Gale Winskill likes a challenge, and has changed direction in her own career. In a blog she talks of feeling the fear of fiction and doing it anyway! Gale also has some encouraging words for anyone wanting to switch to editing fiction: ‘If you can articulate your reaction to a piece of narrative prose, you can edit fiction!’ Gale has become a well-respected fiction editor and co-wrote the CIEP’s Introduction to Fiction Editing course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re interested in finding out if fiction editing might be for you, the CIEP also publishes a short guide that may help you to decide: Getting Started in Fiction Editing, written by Kat Trail. Kat herself has changed direction from journalism to fiction editing (and back again!).

Averill Buchanan works primarily as a fiction editor, and in February we shared a blog where she talks about her beginnings in graphic design and her decision to change direction and work as an editor. She explains how both skills have enabled her to help independent authors navigate the sometimes overwhelming process of self-publishing.

We promoted our Exercise Bank in February and March, and there are great resources in this collection to give you a taste of what it is like to proofread and copyedit fiction. One of them – a proofreading exercise by Jane Hammett – provides practice in proofreading a highly illustrated text, checking illustrations, checking layout and using Adobe Acrobat Reader DC commenting/markup tools. It is completely free for members.

Changing your processes for the better

How do you make your work more efficient? In an illuminating blog post, Margaret Hunter describes the process of streamlining workflow for regular and repeated publications such as journals and series. Before beginning she asks herself: ‘I’m going to have to do this again, so what will make it easier or more efficient next time?’ That’s a fantastic question. Before you begin any job it’s worth considering if there are any processes you can employ to speed things up for yourself, reduce drudgery and make the best use of your amazing brain by freeing up more thinking time.

Making sense of changing times

A new blog post from guest writer Rosie Tate of Tate & Clayburn listed five ways the English language has changed in the past two decades. It’s been an eventful 20 years, to put it mildly: words have come and gone, meanings have shifted, technical terms have become everyday, and the pandemic has introduced words and phrases from virology and medicine.

As certain as death and taxes

The most extreme example of change is something we don’t like to think of or talk much about … the subject of death. We shared this epically researched blog by Luke Finley and Laura Ripper which provides a practical and sensitive guide to what you should have in place for your clients and colleagues if you should pass away unexpectedly. Thanks for making us think about this subject.

Another subject we don’t like to think of or talk much about is … HMRC. Melanie Thompson described her experience of being inspected by the UK’s tax authority. The jolt of adrenaline from reading this was more than the effect of any double espresso, and had a lot of members asking for the number of Melanie’s accountant. We recommend you read it; it has a happy ending. You’re a trooper, Melanie.

And finally …

What if the change you are presented with isn’t a choice – and is life altering? How do you cope with that?

We’ve all had two years of getting used to a ‘new normal’, and now the world is experiencing another time of great uncertainty and worry. War is a constant fact of life for many people in our world, a fact that leaves many of us feeling rather helpless. One small way editors can contribute is through our work; to always challenge intolerance and disinformation where we find it.

Our most roundly supported social media post in February and March was the CIEP Council’s statement of solidarity with the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association, and support of a statement made by the Russian Alliance of Independent Publishers and Book Distributors.

Our CIEP social media output is the work of many hands. Thank you to the information team, the social media team, the writers, editors, proofreaders and everyone who takes time to engage with our posts.


Don’t miss a thing in editing and proofreading. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: blossom by Mitrey on Pixabay.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

CIEP social media round-up: December 2021 and January 2022

In our review of December 2021 and January 2022 we’re focusing on our friends and followers, as their feedback and chat was particularly entertaining during these two months. We gave something back to them, too, with a festive offer of a stonking 30% discount on CIEP courses.

In this follower-focused round-up:

  • Cantankerous creatures, plus coffee and cheese
  • Negotiating new words
  • Course enrolment stampede
  • Newsletters and new blogs
  • Gems from the archive
  • New year, new theories
  • Chatting among yourselves
  • Laughing at words
  • Signs of the times

Cantankerous creatures, plus coffee and cheese

There was a wide range of fun content to share in early December, from words to describe being irritable (illustrated with excellent photos of domestic creatures, wildlife and small children looking annoyed) to the question of whether the way you write runs in your family. ‘I think there is something to this’, replied an author on Twitter, whose son ‘writes in a very similar style but on completely different subject matter’. It was great to hear this view from a real-life writer in the absence of the Brontës, the Amises, and AS Byatt and Margaret Drabble to tell us what was what.

On 8 December we got our friends and followers to imagine what would happen if they knocked over their morning coffee as they leant over to consult their copy of Butcher’s Copy-Editing. With the spillage could they, like artist Giulia Bernardelli, create a picture of Botticelli’s Venus or the Eiffel Tower? One follower responded that they would more likely rescue their copy of the book (it’s not cheap), and another added: ‘Stuff the coffee – save Butcher’s and the computer!’ Over on Facebook, another editorial professional looked at a coffee-stained image of Madrid and commented ruefully, ‘Actually, my copy of Butcher’s is starting to look a bit like that …’

By 10 December we were turning our attention to the upcoming holiday season. We posted a @twisteddoodles cartoon entitled ‘Christmas food shopping’, with two excited-looking people in a supermarket having a conversation: ‘Instead of cheese let’s buy the “fancy cheese”.’ ‘Let’s buy a lot of cheese for no good reason.’ This certainly brought a lot of cheese lovers out of the, er, cupboard? Fridge? One follower confessed, ‘I have been told not to buy “too much cheese” on Christmases past. But can there be too much cheese?’ The responses came: ‘never!’ and ‘no, there can never be too much’. That’s that settled, then.

Negotiating new words

Sometimes our postings on new words and new definitions of existing words don’t cause too much of a stir, as with ‘A little birdie told us that it’s time for the OED December 2021 update’. This quarterly update included 750 new entries, ‘and almost as many fully revised entries’, with an emphasis on the bird kingdom. As ever, hats off to the OED team who try to cram in as many references to their new entries as possible in these updates.

However, not a week later, Cambridge Dictionary’s new words for 20 December 2021 were released. They included ‘resimercial’: ‘A resimercial office combines elements of “residential” and “commercial”, with comfortable furniture and design that makes it look more like a room in a home.’ We canvassed opinions: ‘We’re not sure we have the stomach for “resimercial”. What do you think?’ One response came in, short, sharp and unequivocal: ‘“Resimercial”? No.’ Oh. Well, luckily it’s not in the dictionary. Yet.

A month later, Cambridge’s new words prompted a similarly decided response. Encountering ‘clean inboxer’, ‘someone who reads and takes action on every email they receive when they receive it, so that there are never any unread emails in their inbox’, we wondered who these people could possibly be, and tentatively asked, ‘Are there any clean inboxers out there?’ Our call was answered by a single person, on Twitter, who offered a brief ‘Yes, big time.’ There’s someone who gets to the point, which probably explains the excellent standard of their email hygiene.

Course enrolment stampede

During December we launched a festive offer. We thought 30% off CIEP courses would rouse some interest, but even we hadn’t anticipated the massive response. During the week of the campaign in December we sold 470 courses, with many people buying more than one to set up their CPD for the year ahead. Enjoy all that learning, you editing and proofreading boffins!

In January we launched the CIEP Exercise Bank, to give editors and proofreaders real-life practice and confidence. Annie Deakins, who tested and proofread the bank, blogged about it for us.

Newsletters and new blogs

Did you know that all of our social media accounts have the sign-up details for Editorial Excellence, our external newsletter, pinned to the top of the page? When you join you get a welcome email pointing you to the newsletter archive so you don’t have to wait for the next edition.

Editorial Excellence, and our member newsletter The Edit, are full of the latest blogs by our members and friends, and some classics from the archive. There was an abundance of new blog posts in December and January, including: ‘Good communication is accessible’ by Sue Littleford; ‘What’s your favourite phrase or saying?’ by the CIEP wise owls; ‘The CPD in the work we do’ by Abi Saffrey; ‘Curiosity or destiny? The different routes to the CIEP’ by Alex Mackenzie; ‘Context is everything: How learning a new language shed light on my editing practice’ by Julia Sandford-Cooke; and a blog by Katherine Kirk about Jennifer Glossop’s top-ten etiquette tips for editors, shared recently with the Toronto CIEP group.

 

Gems from the archive

We reposted some great classic content in December and January. Blogs included pieces from Robin Black on why a professional editorial website encourages clients to pay professional fees; Luke Finley and Laura Ripper on plain English; and Kia Thomas on scammy and cautious editors. On which note, we reminded members of our fact sheet ‘Negotiating business contracts’, which helps you understand contract provisions and ways to negotiate the best possible outcome. CIEP members shared on video why CPD is important, and we reminded people about the CIEP Directory where top-notch editorial professionals in all specialisms can be found. We also promoted our popular course Word for Practical Editing, plus old quizzes and new. If you’ve missed any of the fun CIEP quizzes, you can find them on our website.

New year, new theories

In January our followers were back from their break refreshed and in the mood to respond to the latest scientific ideas on language. In ‘Our emotions and identity can affect how we use grammar’, Professor Veena D. Dwivedi explained how ‘emotional context affects how we understand and use language at the neural level’. Our LinkedIn followers were completely there for it: ‘I agree. Language usage, including grammar, has everything to do with social identity. Fantastic article!’ ‘Totally connect with this idea!’

A couple of weeks later we posted an article suggesting that dogs can detect differences between languages, which again drew interest and comments. ‘Fascinating!’ declared our followers, and one remarked: ‘This is true of cats too. Our cat responds to commands from me in English and my partner in Spanish. (Though being a cat, only when she feels like it!)’

Chatting among yourselves

Burns Night on 25 January was an occasion for a good old chit-chat. Immediately we posted an article from The Scotsman, Facebook responses went wild: ‘Lang may yer lum reek!’ (translation: ‘Long may your chimney smoke’); ‘It was always a big deal in my family!’; and, in response to a direct tag and question, ‘are you celebrating tonight?’, one follower responded: ‘OMG! I forgot! I usually have a gathering to read Burns’s poetry with haggis, neeps and tatties, sausages for the faint of heart. Thank you for the reminder. Must get shopping.’ We hope you got the Burns Night you’d planned. Or hadn’t planned, in fact.

Laughing at words

In the social media team we like to make people laugh, and often the content just goes ahead and does our job for us. This was the case with an article by Susie Dent, ‘From respair to cacklefart – the joy of reclaiming long-lost positive words’. A follower on LinkedIn testified, admirably using many of the words from the piece, ‘This article made me LAUGH OUT LOUD … I had to wipe the tears from my eyes with my snottinger, decided to stop being so crumpsy, and am making plans to visit my grandkids to feel some gigil. Words are so much fun.’

We got a great response with other long-lost words in Merriam-Webster’s list of polite words for impolite people, as followers and friends recalled their mums or grandmas calling them ‘flibbertigibbets’. Finally, apt for January, we posted Dictionary.com’s list of contronyms – words that have two opposite meanings – like cleave (to separate and also to adhere closely) and overlook (to not notice and also to supervise). LinkedIn followers responded: ‘I had a good laugh this morning over some of these’ and ‘Love this. I now know things that I didn’t realise I knew before.’

Signs of the times

This time last year most of us had never uttered the word ‘omicron’, which might explain the trickiness of the word the first few times we did say it in November and December 2021. We posted a couple of articles exploring how to pronounce it and why it was so difficult. In terms of the latter, it was partly because we are so used to words that start with ‘omni’.

And then, charmingly, the wordle, sorry, the world divided into those who know and love the word game Wordle, and those who don’t. An 11 January article giving some linguistics-based Wordle tips from David Shariatmadari provided some of our followers with the opportunity to express their love for the game, from ‘I am hooked’ to ‘I LOVE Wordle … I love the way it makes you think about how words are built’. But then in response to another Wordle article later in the month, another follower confessed, ‘I still have no idea what a wordle is …’ and got a ‘me neither’ in response.

On 14 January, content creator and marketer Emily Coleman (@editoremilye) commented on Twitter, ‘Wordle is the sourdough starter of Omicron.’ At the time of writing, that tweet has attracted 90K likes, 8,213 retweets and 983 quote tweets, most of which, it seems, said something like ‘What would your 2019/2020/summer 2021 self have made of this sentence?’ And that’s the inexorable march of language, friends. Who knows what new, old-but-obscure or just obscure words we’ll all be casually using by the end of 2022? In the meantime, keep your words coming, by commenting and chatting on our social media platforms. We love to hear from you.


Don’t miss a thing in editing and proofreading. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credit: coffee by Jason Villanueva from Pexels.

Posted by Harriet Power, CIEP information commissioning editor.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

The CPD in the work we do

In this post, Abi Saffrey thinks about the ways in which we develop our professional selves while doing the job we do – an often overlooked form of CPD.

This article considers:

  • Informal conversations and guidance
  • Seeing a task from a different perspective
  • Observing colleagues and peers
  • Procrastinating on the internet
  • Teaching others
  • Writing an article
  • Continuing professional development

It’s highly likely that most of the people reading this post have put some formal training on their professional development plan for 2022. I certainly have every intention of signing up for the CIEP’s Plain English for Editors online course, or perhaps the References one. I also have some of the Publishing Training Centre’s e-Learning modules to work through.

When building our development plans, we often dismiss or forget the informal learning that we do every day while working. There are so many ways to learn new skills, adapt current ones, deepen our understanding, broaden our experiences – these are perhaps harder to label than a training course, but equally important in keeping our careers, and businesses, on track.

Informal conversations and guidance

Whether working for an organisation or ourselves, we have networks of people that we talk to. In an office or via an instant messaging tool, we can ask colleagues quick questions, or perhaps jump on a video call to discuss an idea.

Even a more formal meeting can be a learning opportunity, not just about how to carry out a task but how to communicate about it, finance it or improve it.

For those of us who work at home alone, having conversations with peers can remind us of our professional sense of self, and I find that after one of those conversations, I’m more proactive and productive.

Seeing a task from a different perspective

It’s very easy to focus on how we race through a task that we do often, and I suspect we’re all a bit prone to forgetting the actions that sit around that task. With my editorial project management work, I can gain insights into how copyeditors and proofreaders work, into what designers and typesetters need to know, into the priorities of the publisher – and I can take that and apply it to my own editing or proofreading (as well as future project management).

Taking a step back and thinking holistically about a project can be informative and rewarding, remind us of the bigger picture, and perhaps help us identify areas for more formal CPD.

Observing colleagues and peers

This is easier when working in an office with someone, clearly. I learnt so much from those around me as an employee, and when working in a client’s office as a contractor.

I’m in an accountability group, and on one of our professional retreats we spent a session looking at how we’d edit different types of texts – we all had different approaches and talked about which approach worked best for each text. With a bit of planning, this could work well over a video call or even in an online chat forum.

Talking of online chat forums, the CIEP member forums are full of gems covering every aspect of editing and running an editing business.

Procrastinating on the internet

Twitter, hey? It’s a right time-sink. How about that Wordle game? At least you can only play it once a day, but then did you read the articles about how to get better at it?

This may be the wrong thing to say, BUT there is value in procrastinating on the internet. So many of us scold ourselves for spending a bit too long on social media platforms, but there are great things in among the pyramid scheme promotions, political despair and, of course, cats. There are relevant blog posts, discussions, contacts being made, creativity being sparked, unknown terminology being discovered, different approaches to the same problem and the worldwide #StetWalk movement.

Teaching others

Teaching someone else how to do something that we know how to do is a fabulous way to reinforce our own knowledge. It can help us to realise how much we do know, and often highlights what we still don’t know. There is a lot of value in rewinding our understanding and trying to build up that understanding in someone else. That word you use all the time? They don’t know it. Those who learn from us can ask questions that we might never have thought of, and finding out you didn’t know what you didn’t know will be a revelation.

Writing an article

Write about what you know. Tailoring an article to the intended audience is a skill, and writing has the same benefits as teaching. For editors, writing also has the added value of building empathy towards those whose words we work with. When this article comes back from its proofreader, I will be nervous about what corrections may have been made. And once this is published, I’ll wonder about what kind of reception it will have. Receiving feedback help us to better give feedback (and give better feedback).

Continuing professional development

The skills that we need change and evolve, as do the industries we work in. Let’s welcome informal professional development into our work lives, and acknowledge that which already exists. I’ve covered the kinds of learning I’ve benefited from throughout my career – share yours in the comments.

About Abi Saffrey

Abi Saffrey is an editorial project manager, copyeditor and the CIEP’s information director. In 2022, lots of her informal CPD will come from working with her CIEP Council and information team colleagues.

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: snowdrop by Kiwihug; Toronto perspective by Nadine Shaabana, both on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

CIEP social media round-up: October and November 2021

In October and November 2021 we continued to use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to raise awareness of the CIEP, promote our values and highlight our incredible and growing list of resources for members and non-members. Looking to the wider world, we posted articles that celebrated major events and explored the business of editing, the details of text, beautiful books, and weird and wonderful words.

Supporting self-publishing

In October we were a session sponsor at the Alliance of Independent Authors’ online conference, #SelfPubCon21, where we sponsored CIEP member Sophie Playle’s session on crafting beautiful prose. We created a lovely bundle of free resources for delegates: three guides, two focus papers and four fact sheets.

Boosting specialist knowledge

We promoted a new guide, Editing Fiction Containing Gender-Neutral Pronouns, by Louise Harnby, which helps fiction editors consider the implications for narrative viewpoint when an author uses gender-neutral pronouns.

And we continue to raise awareness about the CIEP’s Directory of Editorial Services on a weekly basis. In October we promoted music and language editors and novel critiques. The aim is to demonstrate that the Directory is a source of professionals in whom clients can have confidence.

We also want to share our knowledge more widely, and we decided that not enough people know about Editorial Excellence and what incredible value there is inside this bi-monthly newsletter.

So all of our social media accounts now have sign-up details pinned to the top of the page, and when people join they get a welcome email pointing them to the newsletter archive so they don’t have to wait for the next edition.

Blog bonanza

Our blog posts went into overdrive in the wake of the CIEP conference, with 19 posts reviewing conference sessions, finishing with a first-time conference-goer’s experience in which Dayita Nereyeth summed up her journey through #CIEP2021 beautifully.

We also promoted blog posts on a variety of topics: eco-anxiety, sentence case in titles, grammatical rules and personal communications, business-boosting tools, 21 tech tips and commissioning, editing and proofreading figures.

Questions and more questions

November saw a new CIEP language quiz, number 11, for the competitive grammarians among us.

And we promoted the launch of our new course, The Art of Querying, across all of our platforms.

Marking world events

As usual, we marked events in the wider world with our curated content. We posted Oxford University Press’s celebration of ten people who made British history for Black History Month; on 1 October it was also International Coffee Day and we linked to a list of coffee quotes, courtesy of Goodreads; at October’s end it was of course Halloween, which we anticipated on 12 October with Merriam-Webster’s list of monsters with excellent names including Snallygaster and Hodag. Nearer the date we shared a spooky Halloween tale for writers by cartoonist Tom Gauld in which, after curses and death, the worst event was, in the words of the storyteller: ‘The book had a typo and the entire print run had to be pulped!’ One of our Facebook followers commented: ‘Pulped for one typo??? Those were the days.’ Quite right. Remember, folks, most books have the odd typo.

In November, COP26 in Glasgow was the main event, and we made sure we gave our followers enough environment-related reading material to accompany them through, from new words such as wish-cycling to the etymology of the word ‘world’. Brian Bilston published an ingenious poem, ‘Every day the planet burns a little more’, to be read downwards and then, for a more hopeful vision, back up again.

The business of editing

As ever we posted a good deal of content about being an editor or proofreader, starting with The Ethics of Online Portfolios: How should editors showcase their skills and experience?. In early November we looked at how to build a waiting list, and later in the month CIEP’s own business columnist, Sue Littleford, published a well-received blog on the ACES website about author querying, which included seven golden rules and a description of Sue’s own querying process. The article got a lot of love online, and for good reason.

Something else that got a lot of love was the term ‘polywork’, which describes a new working lifestyle of ‘pursuing multiple jobs to fulfill multiple interests’ as defined by fierceelectronics.com and recorded by Cambridge Dictionaries. One LinkedIn follower commented: ‘I’m definitely a polyworker: genealogy, editing, writing and a bit of designing brand books. I love it all so why choose only one?’

Textual healing

From the subjunctive to pronouns, capital letters to commas, as well as what happens when friends discover grammatical ‘errors’ in your novel, we also considered the details of text. One very popular article, Writing by Seeing Only the Punctuation, allowed its readers to paste into a web tool any piece of writing in order to view only its punctuation. Our followers called it ‘fascinating’ and ‘awesome’, and one commented: ‘These are works of art! I’d love one as a poster.’ That’s someone’s Christmas present sorted, right there.

Beautiful books

On 28 October it was a day for the enjoyment of books as we posted an article about the 15 most beautiful bookstores in the world as well as a scientific explanation for your urge to sniff old books. The author herself (@joodstew) thanked us on Twitter for the shout-out. Most welcome.

And then for those who have all the books but don’t have the time to read them, a new concept: an antilibrary, a research tool that ‘creates a humble relationship with knowledge’ because it reminds us of all the things we don’t yet know.

Weird and wonderful words

Something else we’ll bet you don’t yet know is the meaning of most of the words in Merriam-Webster’s Great Big List of Beautiful and Useless Words, Vol. 2 (yes, there has already been a first volume). With a subtitle of ‘They’re wonderful. They’re obscure. They’re often quite pointless’, this list includes ultracrepidarian, ‘giving opinions on matters beyond one’s knowledge’ (perhaps they need a humbling antilibrary), and spanghew, ‘to throw violently into the air; especially to throw (a frog) into the air from the end of a stick’. We hope to never have to use that particular word, ever. Poor frog.

And finally, as we’re getting into words-of-the-year season, a nod to The Cambridge Dictionary Word of the Year – wait for it … keep going … almost there – perseverance. We’ll allow Cambridge Dictionary to elaborate:

In 2021, people all over the world have had to show perseverance in the face of challenges and disruption to our lives from COVID-19 and other problems. Perseverance is almost always a positive word that expresses our admiration for people who keep going in difficult situations … You might find it encouraging to learn that we usually use perseverance to talk about an effort that is eventually successful.

We can only hope. From CIEP’s social media elves, wishing you a very happy festive season and a wonderful start to 2022.


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About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credit: rainbow book shelves by Jason Leung on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

The 2021 CIEP conference: How to be a LinkedIn leader

This year’s CIEP conference was held online, from 12 to 14 September. Attendees from all over the world logged on to learn and socialise with their fellow editors and proofreaders, and a number of delegates kindly volunteered to write up the sessions for us. Liz Dalby reviewed How to be a LinkedIn leader, presented by John Espirian.

Most of us are probably already on LinkedIn because it’s a relatively simple and free way of having a professional online profile. And many of us know it as an extension of a traditional paper CV – it’s a place to show off your skills and achievements, in the hope of being noticed by a potential employer. However, whether or not anyone will actually notice you among the throng is another question. As with any form of social media, there are positive ways in which you can make yourself stand out, and there are also ways in which you can draw attention to yourself – even to the point of being restricted or banned – for all the wrong reasons.

John Espirian, former member and director of the SfEP (as it was then), has gone on to develop a significant following for his advice on how to make LinkedIn work better for you, alongside his own work as a technical copywriter. The thing that’s immediately noticeable about John’s Zoom presentation is his background. Where the rest of us might make sure we’d cleared the household mess out of the way or arranged a suitable book or two in view, John is totally on-brand with his trademark blue background, and even a QR code to scan, which takes you directly to his own LinkedIn profile. That, right there, is a lesson in message and branding, and he hasn’t even opened his mouth!

John introduces his session as ‘the whistle-stop version of the LinkedIn Leaders’ Playbook’, his course on how to get the best out of LinkedIn. He starts off with a list of ‘don’ts’ – things to avoid doing if you want to have success on LinkedIn, including trying to get too many connections too quickly. This is because it doesn’t allow you to get to know each new contact individually. He emphasises the importance of establishing personal contact with your connections throughout, whether via written messages or voice messages – while keeping it non-salesy and human.

Of course one of the things you may want to do on LinkedIn is share your content, but don’t even think about setting up a so-called ‘engagement pod’, where you are part of a group of people who all like and comment on each other’s posts. It’s not just bad form and a bit tacky, it’s against LinkedIn’s rules, and it’s an example of a practice that could get you banned, as is automating actions such as bombarding similar accounts with the same message. Take care!

A positive thing to aim for, John says, if you do it slowly and organically, is reaching 500 connections, as beyond that point LinkedIn won’t show exactly how many connections you have. Presumably, you could appear to be on a par with Elon Musk, or whoever, to the casual observer or passing HR person or commissioning editor.

Next, and perhaps most immediately relevant to anyone who’s a relative beginner, is how to make your profile as good as it can be. John has clearly analysed all of this at a granular level, so you don’t have to. Before applying his tips, he recommends checking your profile views, so you have something to measure against when assessing the changes you’ve made. Some of his tips are very basic, such as moving away from the default profile and banner images. But it’s also important to consider the placement of the two in relation to each other – don’t let your profile photo obscure anything you want people to see on the banner.

Most important is your profile headline. This is what people will see when you comment on other posts, for example, so make sure you get it right and make it interesting. On a mobile device, they’ll only see the first 40 characters. So even though you have 220 characters to play with, John doesn’t advise using anywhere near that number.

Next most important is your About statement, which can be 2,600 characters long but only the first three lines will be seen. State what you do, who you do it for, and how to get in touch. You want to make clear what value you bring to a project, and you might put killer quotes or list high-profile clients here, too. Other consistent pieces of advice are to break up walls of plain text with lists, for example (especially for mobile reading), and show a bit of personality! Again, end with multiple ways people can get in touch with you. Make it clear exactly what you provide.

John also mentions publishing your prices (via a link to your website), which he’s well known for advocating. This is to avoid interaction with timewasters who are not ever likely to pay what you charge for your services. Finally, he uses the device of a secret word in his About section, which is a way of testing whether people who connect with him have read his profile. It’s also a conversation starter. Again, it’s all about personalisation.

Next, he moves to Recommendations. He has a tip for asking for recommendations, which involves adding a link to the bottom of invoices or email signatures, for example, to take the pain out of asking contacts directly for Recommendations. However, they will need to be connected to you on LinkedIn to be able to do this. A further tip is customising your LinkedIn URL. It’s this attention to detail that makes John’s advice so useful – and this kind of thing is very easy to do, but has outsize effects in terms of making your profile seem cared for and polished.

Other areas he covers in the session include the difference between following and connecting (try to get people to follow you first by switching to follow-first mode, but only if you’re regularly putting out content); best practice when it comes to connecting and building your network (you’ve guessed it – make it personal, even using voice notes if you dare); creating content that clients will care about (using his CHAIR model); articles versus posts (even if you write an article, you’ll still need to craft a shorter-form post to make it visible to your network); the anatomy of a successful LinkedIn post (use emojis, make the most of the plain text format with lists and white space, and focus on getting engagement and comments), view counts and commenting etiquette.

John ends with a surprising statistic – that only 1 per cent of people on LinkedIn are content creators. This means that if you become one of them, you will really set yourself apart, which is what it’s all about in a crowded marketplace like ours. And his final takeaway is that ‘conversations are gold’. That’s really the message he conveyed throughout the presentation. Yes, there are technical tweaks you can make to tighten things up and make yourself visible. But to get the most from the platform, you have to show up as yourself, and engage.

The presentation was clear and consistent, packed with useful and actionable information. Throughout, it was impossible to forget who was presenting, too – John’s bitmoji alter ego was there, walking us through the slides, which were beautifully created in line with his branding. All in all, it was a highly polished and professional insight from someone at the top of his LinkedIn game, but useful and accessible to everyone, at any stage of the journey.

Liz Dalby has been an editor since 1998, and freelance since 2008. She works on non-fiction projects of all kinds, for publishers, businesses and independent authors. She’s also one of the commissioning editors on the CIEP information team.

 

 

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

CIEP social media round-up: August and September 2021

August and September 2021 brought us new members and the CIEP conference. We took a stand on key issues and enjoyed reading about reference books, focusing on specifics of business practice and fiction editing, and encountering a wealth of idle curiosities. Finally, we celebrated autumn’s arrival with the wonderful Brian Bilston.

Welcoming new members

In August we ran a two-week flash offer on membership via our social media channels. This got a fantastic response, with 361 new members joining us. Welcome to every one of you!

Then at the beginning of September we launched three new CIEP guides, all of which, like the rest of our wide-ranging suite, are free to our members – just one of the benefits of joining the Institute.

Conference excitement

In August and September we continued to use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in the run-up to the CIEP annual conference, and we posted a video and text-based posts about the exciting speaker line-up.

 

 

 

 

There was some tremendous live tweeting by delegates throughout the conference, and more than one comment from people suffering from FOMO who wished they’d booked a place! Thanks to everyone who shared their conference experience through social media. You can still see what went on via the hashtag #CIEP21. Soon we’ll release reviews of the brilliant conference sessions and a round-up of the conference blogs, so the excitement doesn’t need to stop just yet.

Where we stand

During these two months we made it clear where the CIEP stands on some key issues. We blogged about why we’re no longer using the terms ‘non-native’ and ‘native’ and we introduced our environmental working group.

 

 

 

 

Our newly updated equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) web page contains links to all of our own key resources, our recent public statements on racism in publishing and beyond, and ideas about where you can go for more information on EDI. We hope this page will become a vital part of every editor’s toolkit.

Celebrating reference books

Talking of toolkits: reference books. We love them, don’t we? In August we heard from the CIEP’s friend Dr Fraser Dallachy on the origins of the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, a mammoth undertaking that when finished in 2009 after ‘over fifty years of sorting and categorising’ was roundly celebrated: ‘there was much rejoicing, speech-making, and imbibing of wine’.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the Dictionary of Caribbean English. The OED recently worked with Dr Jeannette Allsopp, who founded the Richard and Jeannette Allsopp Centre for Caribbean Lexicography, and many others to expand its coverage of Caribbean English, revising over 120 entries in the OED and adding more than 100 new ones. One word mentioned in the article was tabanca, ‘the name that Trinidadians have given to the longing and melancholy they feel after the end of carnival’. A bit like CIEP members feel after the conference, perhaps.

Positive posts

To cheer us up, how about some positive new words? The crop at the end of August from Cambridge Dictionaries – ‘volunteercation’, ‘peace tourism’ and ‘kindness economy’ – should do the trick. If not, check out the article they posted a mere week later about the language of reading, including ‘getting lost in a book’ and ‘bookworm’ (you called?). And then, the week after that, Cambridge Dictionaries did it again with an article about words and terms connected with trust and loyalty. Happy sighs all round.

Keeping focused

There was plenty of practical content during this period: critical-thinking copyediting, getting paid by the project, formatting a book using Word Styles and counting pages in a manuscript submission. And, ever a favourite topic: style sheets – what they are and how to use them.

Fantastic fiction

We curated a variety of articles for fiction editors in August and September, from ‘“Whoever/whomever” in fiction: Which should your character use?’, which sounds niche but was actually an interesting discussion about how much grammar we should expect our characters to know and employ, to Ruth Ozeki, author of The Book of Form and Emptiness, on process and acceptance, and from avoiding anachronisms in fiction to the importance of curiosity and tension to storytelling.

Curiosities for idle moments

There were curiosities of other kinds, too: the sort of lighter content that always goes down well with our friends and followers, including pangrams (sentences that contain all 26 letters of the English alphabet) and which library matches our personality. We enjoyed some beautiful colophons and discovered why there’s no ‘n’ in restaurateur. We found out how the poetic greats were snubbed and tried out seven Shakespearean insults. We even learned 22 charming words for nasty people, which might come in handy one day. And do you know what the opposite of déjà vu is? Now you do. Don’t worry about the odd feeling that you’ve read it before – it’s because you follow us on social media, of course!

Finally, as September edged towards October our thoughts turned to autumn, and, joyfully, Brian Bilston met us right there with a poem entitled ‘The problem of writing poems in the shape of deciduous trees’. If you weren’t one of the 393 people on our social media platforms who liked or loved this poem, do click through. It’s a tree-t.

Don’t miss a thing in editing and proofreading. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: ferris wheel by Steve Shreve on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

 

CIEP social media round-up: June and July 2021

June and July 2021 in social media gave us conference fever, hot new resources, trustworthy professionals, heroic diving etymologists and faithful canine edibuddies.

We used Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to promote the CIEP annual conference in September, and posted a video and text-based posts about the speaker line-up. The full programme is available on the CIEP’s conference page. Take a look!

Fabulous resources

We’ve also made a splash about the following fabulous additions to the CIEP’s extensive resource library.

Professionals you can trust

And we continue to raise awareness about the CIEP’s Directory of Editorial Services on a weekly basis. The social media posts reflect the broad range of specialist editorial skills CIEP members have to offer and draw attention to advertisers’ qualifications, experience and client references. The aim is to demonstrate that the Directory is a source of professionals in whom clients can have confidence.

The wider wordy world

In rounding up the external links we have shared in the previous two months we try to look for vague themes. This period has been unusually disparate in its topics, although highlights have been an article from ACES about whether your punctuation is too varied; Lynne Murphy’s celebration of 15 years of Separated by a Common Language, her blog about British and US linguistic variation; a well-received CMOS quiz on editing lingo; and an interview with Zakiya Dalila Harris, author of The Other Black Girl, on the spoofability of the publishing world.

However, two themes did emerge: etymology and dogs. So, same old same old, but let’s plough on nevertheless.

Heroes of etymology

At the CIEP we just love etymology, the study of the origins of words and terms and how their meanings change. So June and July were a treat for us as they provided a combination of box-fresh new terms (lockdown foot and bungalow leg; yep, both sound painful), a fascinating myth-busting quiz about the OED and an interesting article from a New Words editor which started with the words: ‘My name is Fiona and I am responsible for putting amazeballs into the OED.’ Another word that Fiona’s team has worked on is ‘staycation’, the subject of much hot debate this summer as Person A casually said to Person B, ‘Yeah, we couldn’t get abroad this year so we went for a staycation at the coast about 50 miles away’ and Person B spat back, ‘But that’s a holiday! You have to stay at home for a staycation!’ If you’re interested in whether Person A or Person B is correct in their use of the term, here’s the link to the entry in the OED. (Spoiler: it’s both. Both are right. Now, please stop arguing.)

Another term that has been used a lot this summer, to consternation in some quarters, is ‘wild swimming’, the practice of taking to the water in lakes, rivers and the sea (‘What? In my day we called this “swimming”’). Patricia T. O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman valiantly dived (or is it ‘dove? Oh, never mind) into this particular controversy on the Grammarphobia blog, usefully tracing its origins to Roger Deakin’s classic swimming book Waterlog. This was published around the turn of the millennium, so, yes, unless you are very young ‘wild swimming’ would have been simply ‘swimming’ in your day, but now it exists as a term in the OED (although you’re not obliged to use it).

We appreciated Edwin L. Battistella’s honest, self-reflective post for the OUP on ‘crazy’ and related terms. Being conscious about language is constant work, and this etymologist, author and lecturer outlined the reasons he would no longer be using ‘crazy, wacky, looky, kooky, or nutty’ after hearing directly from his neurodiverse students about how they were affected by this type of language.

We posted another great blog from Edwin L. Battistella in June about the flexibility of pronouns, which formed the basis of a question in CIEP quiz 9. There are all sorts of different types of pronouns, it turns out: personal, reflexive, indefinite, demonstrative, interrogative … and ‘your ass’, as in ‘If you keep that up, they’re going to fire your ass’, is a pronoun too. Who knew? Those hero etymologists knew, along with their equally heroic colleagues, the linguists and the lexicographers.

Everybody and their dog

‘Everybody and their dog’, according to Battistella’s article, is an idiomatic compound pronoun that simply means ‘Everybody’. But when we said on 25 June ‘Everybody and their dog is at work today’ we really meant it, as it was Bring Your Dog to Work Day. If you work from home, this day was likely no different from any other, for you or your dog, but we asked our social media friends and followers how their canine friends were helping them on this special date. A LinkedIn follower responded: ‘My #edibuddy keeps reminding me to take a #stetwalk!’

How does having a canine edibuddy work for other freelancers? Well, some of us with dogs can report that the experience is a combination of having your feet snoozed on (particularly welcome in the winter), hoping they don’t see a squirrel out of the window during a Zoom call (mute button at the ready) and being followed into the loo (chin on your knee and all), but who can more professionally articulate its ups and downs? How about copywriter and dog owner Tom Albrighton, author of a blog for the CIEP on how to be a freelance introvert? Here are some of his recent tweets at @tomcopy: ‘Imagine if dogs had phones. You’d be getting constant texts like “Time for a walk?” and “How about some cheese”.’ (Truth.) ‘It’s common practice in our house to articulate the dog’s presumed thoughts in a “doggy” voice. What happens if you have two or more pets? It must be like one of those one-person Shakespeare performances.’ (Can CIEP members with more than one dog illuminate us on this?) And finally: ‘Just got caught singing a song to the dog about how I’ll take him out in the garden in another half an hour. That’s what working at home is all about.’ It sure is, Tom, it sure is.

Don’t miss a thing in editing and proofreading.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credit: dog in a box by Erda Estremera on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

CIEP social media round-up: April and May 2021

From spoof biographies to snacks, annual reports to fact sheets, conferences to quizzes, April and May 2021 combined fun, advice and endless opportunities to get engaged online. In this round-up, we cover:

  • Special days
  • Improving your business and working practices
  • Sharing CIEP resources
  • Conference excitement
  • Wordy chat
  • Quizzes and other fun stuff

Special days

Immediately as April started there was a special day to celebrate – April Fool’s Day. We posted an article about Grove Music Online’s Spoof Article Contest, which has been running now for 20 years. You can read the winning entry, plus the runners up, in the article. The judges commented: ‘It was hard to miss that the biographies took a turn for the macabre, perhaps inevitable as we begin year two of a pandemic. Whereas our 2016 contest saw a surprising number of flatulence artists among its biographees, this year we saw an unprecedented attention to the mode of death.’ What future world events may cause a resurgence in spoof flatulence-artist biographies, we wonder?

On 16 April we noted, in our pyjamas, that it was ‘Wear your pajamas to work day’, and on 26 April we were organised enough to note that it was ‘Get organized day’. Oh goodie! An opportunity to buy yet another notebook.

We celebrated the Oscars in late April by sharing a list of the books behind the nominated films and discovering what’s behind the term ‘red carpet’.

Improving your practice

Sharing advice and tips is a big part of what we do. Two of the articles we posted to help our followers improve their practice were written by CIEP members, and one of them is worth keeping in mind as you trawl through the many articles offering principles for a successful start-up or listing must-dos as a beginner. CIEP Advanced Professional Member Helen Stevens’s Take my advice – but also don’t lists ten pieces of advice where the opposite might also well be true. We continued this advice/anti-advice theme with two other curated articles: ‘Why procrastination can help fuel creativity’, which looked at the role of the unconscious mind in invention, and ‘The benefits of distraction’, based on a review of a session at the ACES 2021 conference, held in April.

One piece of advice that is unequivocally worth taking, however, especially as your freelance business grows, is CIEP Advanced Professional Member Hazel Bird’s suggestion to produce an annual report. This will give you a regular chance to assess where you’ve come from and where you’re going. ‘Use yours as a pathway to shed the aspects of your business that pull you down and achieve more of what you want’, she says.

Keeping up to date with technology is essential to running a successful editorial business so we took notice when Jane Friedman helpfully revealed how to turn a Microsoft Word document into an Ebook, and Crystal Shelley usefully reviewed Word Macros, giving our own Paul Beverley a mention.

Sharing our resources

Our focus papers and fact sheets continue to be popular on social media. Over the past two months, we’ve promoted the following recent additions to the CIEP resource library.

 

Conference excitement

Also well-received was the super PDF of the #CIEP2020 conference session write-ups. At the end of April, we promoted this free booklet to our members, followers and friends via social media. We hope you enjoyed this conference recap, and that you’ll join us for more fabulous online learning at #CIEP2021!

In May, we used Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to promote a competition offering ten free #CIEP2021 conference places. Then, in early June, we spun an online Wheel of Names to randomly select the winners. The response was phenomenal – thank you to the hundreds who entered, and congratulations to our lucky ten!

Those of you who are members of the Society of Young Publishers might also have attended SYP Scotland’s #SYPRefresh conference. The CIEP sponsored one of the sessions and offered delegates a free copy of the Your House Style guide.

Wordy chat

As ever, tips, talk and debate about words formed a large part of our social media output, from the language of painting and decorating to the origin of haggis, from the history of ‘gilding the lily’ to the differences between ‘lead’ and ‘led’, ‘unsatisfied’ and ‘dissatisfied’, ‘use to’ and ‘used to’. We also learned about five words that don’t mean what you think they do when you look into their origins.

One word we had certainly never heard before, because it’s brand new, is ‘boffice’. Can you guess what it is? You may even have one of your own. Give up? OK, here’s the link.

Quizzes and other fun stuff

The CIEP offers its own fun quizzes, but we love other people’s quizzes too. There was a good crop during this period, including puzzlers about US v UK English, how certain words were coined, libraries and book titles based on their obscure subtitles.

Talking of obscurity and book titles, how about The Adventures of a Pin, Supposed to be Related by Himself, Herself or Itself (someone there could do with the singular ‘they’), Ducks; and How to Make them Pay, Cabbages and Crime, and Who’s Who in Cocker Spaniels? You can find all these wonders and 73 more in ‘77 strange, funny and magnificent book titles you’ve probably never heard of’.

Those among us who are parents of young children laughed long and hard at the twisteddoodles cartoon that one genius social media team member chose for the late May Bank Holiday Friday Funny, entitled ‘If going anywhere with small children was a magical fantasy novel’. This inspired 123 reactions on Facebook, with particular admiration given to Chapter Six, ‘The Snackening’. The last chapter is ‘The Vow to Never Go Anywhere Again’, with the title of Book Two, the sequel, revealed as ‘The Forgotten Vow’. Talking of which, we’ll see you again at the end of the long UK summer holidays. Have a lovely sunny time, and don’t forget the snacks.

Don’t miss a thing in editing and proofreading. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

Find out more about:

 

Photo credits: notebooks by Kiy Turk on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.

CIEP social media round-up: February and March 2021

Ah, the relief in February and March 2021 as spring approached, and finally, well, sprang. We marked this hopeful period by promoting a new course and guide, and by celebrating significant days and seasons.

In this article, we cover:

  • Word for Practical Editing course
  • promotion of our Going Solo guide
  • BookMachine’s Editorial Season
  • Twitter threads, racism and the media
  • special days and seasons
  • business tips and tricks
  • language love.

Our three-month promotion of the Word for Practical Editing course had a fantastic response across social media, with nearly half a million impressions across our various platforms, and nearly 5,000 click-throughs to the course page. It clearly strikes a chord with budding and more experienced editors alike who want to maximise Microsoft Word’s ability to do the heavy lifting when it comes to routine editing tasks.

We hope you enjoyed watching Sue Littleford, author of our guide Going Solo, spin a wheel of names! The ten lucky winners each received a free copy of the second edition of this popular start-up guide.

Another popular event promoted heavily on social media was BookMachine’s Editorial Season. We ran a special membership-growth campaign, and Advanced Professional Member Kia Thomas featured in one of the Season’s regular Wednesday Wisdom slots. Kia shared her experience and insights into editorial freelancing during a live Q&A that was well attended and very much enjoyed.

We also used Twitter threads to promote Going Solo and a blog post about proofreading as a side hustle. Threading is a useful tool for Twitter promotion that requires more in-depth information than can be squeezed into 280 characters.

The CIEP was especially grateful for this functionality during the controversy that erupted following comments from the Society of Editors’ former executive director, Ian Murray, on racism and the media. Commenting on something as serious and important to our industry via social media needs to be concise and clear but substantive. Threading allowed us to make a statement about the CIEP’s commitment to conscious language, representation and structural barriers, and to continuing to learn and do better. You can find our commitment to anti-racism on the home page of our website.

Special days and seasons

During Covid times there has been a feeling of making the most of special days and other periods of celebration. As we’re wordy people, this usually involves reading the relevant books. February was LGBT+ History Month and we published three articles that explored some great LGBT+ reads: history books; books that celebrate and educate; and 42 LGBTQ books that will change the literary landscape this spring. To mark that special day in mid-February – you know, the one celebrated all over the world – that’s right, National Radio Day on 13 February (why, which mid-February date did you think we meant?) we included a much-admired poem from Brian Bilston re-creating the tuning of a radio. At the beginning of March it was World Book Day, of course, eagerly anticipated as the most popular ever. To celebrate St Patrick’s Day on 17 March we shared an article covering 25 books by Irish authors you should read.

On 8 March it was International Women’s Day, but the articles we posted celebrating women during these two months weren’t confined to a mere day. From women in the OED to a quiz to find out which literary heroine you are, and from what Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s time in lockdown teaches us to how well you know a selection of literary classics by women, quite apart from all of the articles we featured that were written by women, quoted women and built on the work of women – well, it was as if women and girls make up, what, 49.6% of the world’s population or something.

Business tips and tricks

As ever, we posted a good number of articles to help our friends and followers keep ahead in their businesses. The title of ‘Video killed the meeting room star’ was given a thumbs-up by our Facebook audience, but its contents proved equally admirable as it explored the do’s and don’ts of making video calls. Articles on pricing structures, being able to accept feedback and when and how to fire a freelance client offered useful advice, and posts condensing the lessons of decades of non-fiction editing experience and how to edit face to face, as well as a quiz on the anatomy of a book, were useful in a different way. For inspiration (and what business person doesn’t need to be inspired sometimes?) we posted a great article about seven writers who were also editors (and the books they edited), and another about the innovative influencers on TikTok whose book reviews are having a major effect on publishing sales.

Language love

But if you’re an editor or proofreader it’s no use being strong on the business side if you’re not cutting the mustard with your knowledge of language and punctuation. We covered this side of things too, with articles about prefixes, countable nouns, brackets and parentheses and commas between adjectives in creative writing.

And then there’s the content we post because of the sheer love of language, which we know our friends and followers share: ‘6 Latin abbreviations you should know’, ‘When repulsive wasn’t disgusting’, ‘Irony and the OED’ and an article on imps and elves, and what they have to do with vaccines. A wealth of etymology and history, all rounded off with a bang-up-to-date short article on whether it’s correct to say O.K., OK, ok or okay. The answer, apparently, is now ‘ok’, with a nod to the fact that ‘maybe mmmkay will achieve formal status one day’. ‘K’, as one of our Facebook followers succinctly said.

In February and March 2021 we showcased CIEP courses and guides, spoke out on important issues, and curated seasonal content and tips to improve your business and language skills. We hope you enjoyed following us as winter turned to spring.

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About the CIEP

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is a non-profit body promoting excellence in English language editing. We set and demonstrate editorial standards, and we are a community, training hub and support network for editorial professionals – the people who work to make text accurate, clear and fit for purpose.

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Photo credits: grass in sunlight by Aniket Bhattacharya; women by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum, both on Unsplash.

Posted by Abi Saffrey, CIEP blog coordinator.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.