Covid-19 Changes for Editors

August 2020 By Jen Grogan, Northwest Editors Guild Administrator Almost all of us have experienced some changes in the work we do and the way we do it thanks to Covid-19. We wanted to know how those changes are impacting our members, so the Guild’s blog team recently reached out to the membership via email for stories of how the pandemic was affecting their work. We received an interesting spread of responses! Member Julie Fanselow reported that Covid-19 and the attendant changes it has brought to the tourism and travel industries brought an end to her work as a contract copyeditor with her anchor client, Rick Steves’ Europe. “Rick is keeping his staff people on the payroll, but they have almost no work—so there’s no way they need me,” Julie reported. She also lost work from a magazine that folded in March. Fortunately, Julie qualified for CARES Act unemployment coverage, but “in order to get the extra $600 in CARES Act benefits, I needed to keep my earnings under a certain very low base weekly amount, and I could not refuse work,” so she was forced to let a few lower-paying occasional clients know she would not be available for their work during the period where she was eligible for those time-limited benefits. Member Caroline Shevrin works 30 hours a week as a staff technical editor/writer at UW Medicine, and reported that Covid-19 has affected her work first by putting her on a furlough that applied to half the staff at the center where she works, then by putting her in the situation of copyediting like mad for a scientific paper that “while not Covid-specific, may have practice implications during the pandemic.” Lastly, like many of us around the world, Caroline has been working remotely since early March. “Because many of my coworkers run research studies,” Caroline said, “their physical presence in the office is important. My staying home supports their work.” Member Mi Ae Lipe, with What Now Design, has been seeing still another different type of change related to the pandemic: as the author of Bounty from the Box: The CSA Farm Cookbook, a 712-page cookbook that helps subscribers of CSAs (community-supported agriculture), farmers market shoppers, she’s “seen an unprecedented uptick in sales this year that have exactly paralleled the sudden explosive interest in local fresh food, home cooking, and gardening this spring.” The products have been marketed and sold for five years, but, as Mi Ae says, “So many more people are concerned about their food supply, safety, and shortages and are needing to cook and eat at home due to restaurant closures and safety issues” that sales and interest have skyrocketed. “This has been a most unexpected but welcome turn of events in a chaotic year,” Mi Ae said, “but one that I hope will last for this self-published author! The book is also starting to generate interest from some groups that want to use it as an educational tool and a fundraiser for food banks …

Guild Statement on Protests

June 2020 By the Northwest Editors Guild Board of Directors Black lives matter. The board of the Northwest Editors Guild mourns the violent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others—including, here in the Northwest, Manuel Ellis. We are appalled at the violence committed by those entrusted with law enforcement. Yet as representatives of an overwhelmingly White professional association, we must also recognize the racial inequality in our own organization and in our profession. In her classic book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? Beverly Tatum, PhD, writes of racism as a moving walkway. “Active racist behavior is equivalent to walking fast on the conveyor belt,” she writes. “Passive racist behavior is equivalent to standing still on [it].” Unless an individual or an organization makes an effort to walk in the opposite direction—to intentionally and repeatedly take anti-racist actions—they are carried along with everyone else.   In recent years, the Northwest Editors Guild has recognized this phenomenon and taken preliminary steps toward walking in the opposite direction. We’ve included goals to increase diversity (in both membership and leadership) in our strategic plan, and we recently launched the second year of a writer mentorship program designed to provide paid publishing opportunities to Black and other underrepresented voices. Of course, this is not enough. Diversifying a profession mocked by the hashtag #publishingsowhite will not happen overnight. Nor will we immediately diversify the many other fields in which our members work. If we are to truly stand with this movement for social justice, we must exercise the profound empathy and discernment that are hallmarks of our profession and take actions every day, every week, and every year to not just walk against the people mover but help grind it to a halt.  We stand with the protests against racism and violent policing, and we promise to continue working toward a just and equitable society that honors and values Black lives. We encourage Seattle-area members (if they are able) to join the silent march on Friday, June 12, a day on which Black Lives Matter Seattle–King County has called for a statewide general strike, and we encourage members everywhere to participate in local actions and/or contribute to anti-racist movements and programs in other ways.  We also invite members to join a conversation on the Northwest Editors Guild listserv (with the tag “OT/BLM” in the subject line), sharing feelings, ideas, and experiences during this momentous and challenging time. Northwest Editors Guild Board of DirectorsErin Cusick, PresidentAlicia Ramos, Vice President of Board DevelopmentMariLou Harveland, Vice President of Member ServicesJesi Vega, SecretaryMichael Schuler, TreasurerAlison Cantrell, Volunteer Coordinator, Member at LargeBrendan McLaughlin, Chair of the Communications Committee, Member at LargeKris Ashley, Member at LargeLaura Shaw, Member at LargeLaura Whittemore, Chair of the Outreach Committee, Member at LargeMatt Bennett, Coordinator of the Writer Mentorship Program, Member at Large

Getting the Words Out

April 2020 By Matthew Bennett, Guild Board Member A few years into editing full-time, I came to realize that the publication process bewildered most of my writers. Not only did they not know what hoops to jump through, they very often didn’t know that editors could help them in the leaping. I was in a similar benighted state in my youth. I knew no professional writers or editors; accordingly, I knew nothing about publishing for pay. Books appeared as if by miracle. In 2018, the Guild board placed increased diversity and outreach at the center of our efforts. I had simultaneously won a residency with Seattle7Writers (now sadly disbanded), which supported aspiring local writers. It is from that special blend of working with amateur writers, reflecting on my own journey, getting a hand from comrades, and striving for literary justice that the NWEG Writer Mentor Program would be born. But how could the Guild shepherd amateur writers from pitch to print? I sought advice from the Guild board and Seattle’s literary community. The answer was: with the collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers. To that end, I recruited Jennie Shortridge of Seattle7Writers and Aaron Burkhalter of the South Seattle Emerald. Through our collaboration, we brought together volunteer editors, amateur writers, and a publication outlet for the pilot program. One mentee of the program, Kimberly Goode, published her first article, “Refuge Outdoor Festival Fosters Healing and Community for People of Color,” under the mentorship of Guild board member Brendan McLaughlin, whom she described as “an enthusiastic advocate in my writing journey but also a general thought partner and someone who was excited to push me.” On her experience in the program, Kimberly states, “[It] was a great way to build momentum and confidence in my voice as a writer. Sometimes there are so many internal thoughts to work through just to get something on paper. This mentoring program was helpful in quieting those voices and reminding me that I had something meaningful to say.” To continue getting the words out, that “something meaningful,” this year the Guild will collaborate with another local publication, Seattle’s Crosscut, an affiliate of PBS station KCTS 9. Guild volunteers and several Crosscut editors will mentor aspiring writers and, as with last year’s program, writer mentees will be paid for their first ever publication. I’m happy to say we now have a full roster of mentors. Crosscut is prepared to host our collaborations and publish the successful articles. The next step is finding those underrepresented voices—the aspiring writers who need help in the leaping. Keep your eyes on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for our upcoming announcement seeking writer participants! Amateur writers interested in participating in the program may follow this link to our application, which includes further details on the Northwest Editors Guild Writer Mentor Program.

How Do I Zoom?

April 2020 By Brendan McLaughlin, Guild Board Member, and Jen Grogan, Guild Administrator Video conferences have quickly become a way of life amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many of us are using them for everything from work meetings to visits with grandma—or grandkids!—and, now, Northwest Editors Guild events! There is no clear end in sight for the period of social distancing necessary to flatten the infection curve, but that doesn’t mean we can’t connect online. For the foreseeable future we will be meeting on Zoom. If you’re new to Zoom, this post is for you! It will walk you through the process of setting up and participating in Zoom meetings. Getting Started You do not need a preexisting Zoom account, but you will need a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a steady internet connection, speakers or headphones, and a microphone (video camera is optional). Start by clicking the URL in your invitation below “Join Zoom Meeting” (see the example below). If prompted, enter the Meeting ID. You will be prompted to download and run a Zoom client, which you must do so you can join. This will happen even if you’ve used Zoom before, so please be sure to allow enough time for the download—ten to fifteen minutes prior to the meeting should be more than enough. Enter your name and click “Join Meeting.” You will also need to enter a password, found under the Meeting ID in the invitation (see below for an example). Then you will need to select an audio option. If you are connecting via a computer or tablet and have a microphone or headphones and speaker, use the “Join with Computer Audio” option. You can also test your speaker and microphone by clicking the link below the “Join with Computer Audio” button. Now is also a good time to test your camera and ensure you like the lighting/backdrop you will soon be sharing. If you run into problems, here is a tutorial. You also have the option of simply dialing in by phone. For this you will need the teleconferencing line and Meeting ID. The Meeting ID is the same whether you’re joining by phone or by internet. Example Invitation Topic: Editors Book Club—The Subversive CopyeditorTime: Feb 25, 2020 12:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) Join Zoom Meetinghttps://zoom.us/j/453061648 Meeting ID: 452 061 548Password: 414673 One tap mobile+16699006833,,453061548# US (San Jose)+19292056099,,453061548# US (New York) Dial by your location        +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)        +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)Meeting ID: 453 061 548Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aeJAXBUq5m Zoom Tools Once you have joined a Zoom call, you will have access to a number of tools. Check the microphone icon first. You may need to click on it to connect the sound. For big groups, it’s a good idea to keep yourself muted unless you’re speaking. If you are muted and you try to speak, Zoom will recognize the sound on your end and pop up a reminder to un-mute yourself before …

Resources for Troubling Times: What Editors Need to Know During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Special Post, April 2020 By Kristin Stein, Northwest Editors Guild Blog Coordinator We’ll update this post as more information becomes available. If you find yourself unsettled these days, you aren’t alone. Though editors often work from home, many of us are new to being 100% remote. The struggles that come from working at home are amplified with isolation and loss of routine due to stay-at-home orders, making focus and motivation difficult throughout the day. Editor and Portland-based board member Laura Whittemore shared on the Guild’s member-only listserv an infographic that illustrates how to stay focused when working from home. A veteran of telecommuting, Laura shared her own tips, stating, “Although I have worked from home for several years, I am finding that the outside pressures of news and the world in general have definitely altered my concentration. I play music from the Focus tab on Spotify, take breaks outside to count while I breathe fresh air and listen to birds, and try to stay hydrated. And if all else fails, I take a restorative nap!” On the other side, millions of Americans are fearing for their jobs, with 10 million filing for unemployment in just two weeks and 76% of freelancers reporting lost work due to the coronavirus. It can be hard to feel safe in the economy right now, but some relief packages recently signed into law have been directed to help with aid for self-employed workers. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allows sick leave for U.S. freelance workers, covering 100% of their sick leave, and 67% equivalent for taking care of sick family members or caring for children following school closings. Be sure to keep detailed records for your taxes and talk to your tax professional to be sure you get the most out of the bill. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted to provide emergency relief for American individuals, families, and businesses affected by the pandemic. Part of a $2 trillion stimulus bill, it’s intended to distribute aid quickly and broadly. The Freelancer Co-op recently hosted a webinar to break down what this means to freelancers, the self-employed, and small businesses. The IRS has also delayed federal tax filing until July 15 to help mitigate the burden of expenses during the crisis. You do not need to do any extra steps to file the extension. While this is going on, it’s important to take breaks from the endless scroll of news articles and focus on things that bring you joy. With events shut down globally, many companies have turned to webhosting to provide distraction and entertainment for the masses in isolation. Here are a few links to keep your mind off things: Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is streaming performances for free in April. Gyms are closed, but many local fitness studios are bringing classes online. In my corner of Oregon, Elk Rock Yoga is offering unlimited virtual yoga for $49. YouTube is also a wealth of workout videos, and Yoga with Adriene …

StetPet Editorial Assistants

March 2020 By Jill Walters, Northwest Editors Guild Social Media Coordinator We love our pets. There’s no question that interacting with a pet will usually make you happier—that’s when they aren’t chewing on your shoe or trying to walk across your keyboard. Numerous scientific studies have proven that petting a dog or cat can lower your blood pressure and have benefits for them, too. And recent studies even indicated that just looking at a photo of a cute animal can trigger an increase in productivity. The Northwest Editors Guild introduced a weekly feature called StetPet on our social media during the summer of 2017 to give our followers a midweek smile. We’ve posted photos and descriptions of animal editorial and writing assistants from all over the world every Wednesday since, featuring plenty of cats, dogs, rodents, aquatic pets, and even wild animal visitors that “help” editors and authors with their work. StetPet posts are frequently the most popular posts on the Guild’s social media feeds. In light of the constant changes and stress with the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we could all use extra smiles right now. That’s why we’ll be posting three StetPets per week on the Guild’s social media for the foreseeable future. It’s the least we can do to keep our editorial community a tiny bit happier during uncertain times. Here we’ll meet three area editors who describe how their StetPets (and temporary StetPets) enrich their lives—and sometimes their work. Alison Cantrell is a Northwest Editors Guild board member, serving as the Guild’s volunteer coordinator, and a freelance editor who lives in the greater Portland, Oregon, metro area. Alison’s dachshund, George, serves as the Guild’s “official” Portland StetPet Ambassador. (George is a girl, by the way.) George is a faithful StetPet editorial assistant. As a freelance editor, I work remotely much of the time, so George loves to keep me company and give me many couch cuddles as I brush up on style guides and other reading. George also makes sure I don’t burn out by providing much-needed reminders to take breaks so we can go on walks, play with her favorite squirrel toy, and take trips in the car. Guild member Julie Swearingen, a freelance editor who recently moved to Bend, Oregon, takes her love of StetPets to another level, working as a pet-sitter for the company Rover, allowing her to care for multiple pets while also being able to edit. I love being a Rover dog-sitter. When I first got started in Portland, I was looking for some extra income around my contracted office position. I met some nice pups, and friends requested me to walk or stay with their pets. Now, that I’m in Bend and my freelance is almost completely home-based, accepting Rover jobs means I have a quieter place to work than my home office which includes two cats and a small dog (who often scrap and drive me up the wall). Yes, I don’t have my second monitor like I do …

Welcoming 2020 on the Board

February 2020 On January 19, departing, returning, and incoming board members of the Northwest Editors Guild joined together for our annual daylong retreat to meet up in person, share information, and ensure a smooth transition into 2020. Six volunteers (Elaine Duncan, Valerie Paquin, Jessyca Yoppolo, Karen Parkin, Betsy Berger, and Sue Cook) left the board after completing their years of service, and four new board volunteers (Laura Whittemore, Jesi Vega, Kris Ashley, and Brendan McLaughlin) joined volunteers who continue their service from last year to form the 2020 board. Please join us in welcoming our new members, and enjoy these brief introductions to the whole board. Executive Committee Erin Cusick, President I am an independent copyeditor and proofreader specializing in literary fiction and cookbooks for traditional publishers, small presses, and independent authors. I completed formal training through UC Berkeley’s rigorous Professional Sequence in Editing, and I frequently participate in continuing education opportunities to enhance and expand my skill set. In my work, I focus on enhancing reader engagement and comprehension and providing authors with potential solutions to address continuity concerns and prevent reader distraction. From the first Northwest Editors Guild event I attended in 2013, I’ve found the group to comprise some of the most welcoming, generous people I’ve ever known. The Guild has been integral to my professional development, and I’m delighted for this opportunity to serve on the board. In my free time, I enjoy swimming laps, running, cooking and baking, traveling, learning to play the piano, and, of course, reading. Michael Schuler, Treasurer I have always loved good writing and helping to make writing better. My freelance work, which consists of copyediting and proofreading, focuses primarily on fiction and academic writing. I am also the publishing and marketing coordinator for ARCADE, a local architecture and design nonprofit. After receiving degrees in architecture and urban planning, I worked in local government and as a consultant for many years before completing the University of Washington Certificate in Editing program in 2014. Any free time I corner is quickly sacrificed to my hobbies, which include programming (Word macros of late), film, photography, and cooking. Alicia Ramos, Vice President of Board Development I’ve always been an editor in one fashion or another. My love of reading led me to an undergraduate degree in literature. I started my professional career practicing law, spent more years than I like to count in corporate communications, and finally made the switch to full-time editing in late 2016 when I joined ECG Management Consultants. I’ve been a Guild member since 2015. My freelance work, which includes everything from proofreading to substantive editing (but not full developmental editing), is focused on popular fiction (particularly queer romance) and memoir. I love working with authors to help them convey their ideas in the most effective way. Nothing makes me happier than hearing that I’ve delivered what the author needed in a way that pleased them and helped them grow. (Okay, maybe kittens make me happier. Kittens are hard to …

How to Reach Out: The Basics of Our Member-Only Listserv

December 2019 By Jen Grogan, Guild Administrator Confused about how the Guild’s member-only listserv works? This post is here to answer your questions! To begin with, a listserv is a system for managing email transmissions to and from a list of subscribers. In a practical sense, it means you send email to one address, and the email goes out to everyone who is a subscribed member of that group. So how do you use the Guild’s listserv? First, you have to be a member. For the safety and security of members, our listserv is restricted to members-only, and the administrator (normally yours truly) is responsible for inviting new members to the group and periodically combing through the group to remove people whose membership has been expired for a certain length of time. Don’t worry—if you miss your renewal date by just a few days we won’t boot you off immediately! The invitation you receive on joining the Guild (or letting us know that you need a new invitation if you missed out in the past) will look something like this: To accept, just click on the “Accept this invitation” button below this text, as shown in the above screencap. You should then see a little notification letting you know that you’ve successfully joined the group, and offering you links to visit the group’s homepage, email the group, or learn more about Google Groups in general. If you see this, you’re all set to go! By default you will receive all emails sent to the listserv individually, but if you want to you can change your settings so you receive emails in batches or in daily digest version, or no emails at all. Please be aware, though: the listserv is the biggest and most common way for the Guild’s administrator and board to communicate with the membership about upcoming events, changes to Guild policy, and other important news. If you request to receive no email from us, we take that seriously and will only email you directly on very rare occasions, but it may mean that you’ll be out of the loop on a lot of important news. For this reason, we recommend members stick with the digest or batch version, so they can skim through messages at their leisure but not miss out on important official announcements. If you’re interested in how to update your Google Group Settings or in other information about the listserv, check out our listserv how-to page, complete with more screencaps and more detailed information about settings. Sometimes, though, something goes wrong. If, from here, you click on the group’s homepage link as shown above, you might see a notification that tells you that you are not authorized to view this page, because you’re not a member. But how can that be the case? You just accepted the invitation! What’s happening in this instance is most likely that you are logged in as a Google user, but not with the address that the invitation to join …

Building Relationships: A Post-Conference Conversation

November 2019 By Bruno George and Jesi Vega To all the editors who participated in the Northwest Editors Guild’s Red Pencil Conference 2019 in September, we’d like to say once more—thank you for joining us! It was a day full of new perspectives, new ideas, new skills, and new voices. It was also a day for celebrating editors and our commitment to creating bridges between writers and readers. We would also like to thank once again the many supporters who stepped up to make the Guild’s first scholarship program a reality this year. Six Voice & Voices scholarships were awarded to encourage six editors to attend their first Red Pencil Conference. We hope they will continue to add their voices to our growing editorial community. We on the conference committee were delighted to introduce the scholarship recipients to each other by email just prior to the conference. At least two of them, Bruno George and Jesi Vega, continued their conversation after the conference, and they agreed to share some of their discussion here. We hope many of you are likewise having post-conference conversations that enrich and inspire your editing practice now and into the future. —The Red Pencil Conference Committee Bruno: I’m grateful to the Northwest Editors Guild for giving me a chance to attend its Red Pencil Conference, which focused on voices underrepresented in the publishing industry. In the keynote address, Viniyanka Prasad related an anecdote from her legal career that described how a Black woman’s voice was shut down by a lawyer prepping her for testimony. In that anecdote, a person of color was in the position of a writer trying to tell their story, while a white person acted as the gatekeeper or editor. That got me thinking about other gatekeeping situations in publishing. I’m an editor; I’m also a white transgender man who does not generally get read as male. I find that freelance editors like me are often expected to market ourselves with our photographs and our life stories. How does that affect editors who are people of color, or LGBTQI, or from other underrepresented communities? What happens if our voice or our face isn’t recognized as part of the majority? How does that impact what we do, or get the opportunity to do? I haven’t come up with a way to deal with this yet—this precarity, this exposure to bias. Or to the extent that I have dealt with it, I’ve gone for a bland and impersonal web presence. Jesi, your editing business, Represent! Editorial, tackles these issues of representation head on. From your business name to your photo and bio, your focus is on working with writers of color and writers from other underrepresented communities. What has the response from writers been like? Did you initially try a different approach before settling on your current business name and focus? Jesi: As a white-passing Latina, I’d flown under the radar as a woman of color in my previous career, and it caused a lot …

The State of the Guild . . . Depends on You!

October 2019 By Elaine Duncan, president of the Northwest Editors Guild Note: In this State of the Guild address, presented at our October 12 potluck, Elaine acknowledged the many volunteers who made things happen in 2019 and suggested ways volunteers can move the Guild’s mission forward in 2020. A few of those opportunities are highlighted in boldface below, and we’re always open to members’ fresh, creative ideas for future community building. It’s my pleasure to be here today to update you on where we stand. First, a personal note. I joined the Guild in 2013 right after moving here from the Bay Area. I still remember walking into that first meeting at the Good Shepherd Center. I didn’t know a single person. I didn’t even know what developmental editing was. I never thought I’d be president one day. But that first meeting was fun, I met some really nice people, and here I am. Now for the Guild. Two years ago, we generated a lot of new ideas, and this year we spent most of our time implementing those ideas, which can be challenging. We have had a lot of success, but there is still a lot of opportunity. I’d like to highlight some of each. Our most recent success was the Red Pencil Conference, which came off beautifully last month at Bastyr University. The theme of the conference was a new one, Voice & Voices. It was aimed at including and recognizing the contributions of groups who are not traditionally part of the editing community. To support that theme, for the first time ever, we offered six scholarships—funded by contributions from individual Guild members—to editors from underrepresented groups who would not otherwise have been able to attend their first conference. I know the recipients appreciated our effort, and I hope we have laid the groundwork for future relationships. Anyone who’s ever done something like organizing a conference knows how hard it is. But the committee was so well-run and so hard-working that the whole event looked seamless, despite a few speakers who cancelled at the last minute. Even the weather cooperated! And who can forget the editors’ lament to the tune of “Home on the Range” at the end of the conference? That was brilliant. And they’re still not done. The committee is documenting its process to make things easier for future conference planners to do their work without reinventing the wheel. I’d like to recognize the committee for everything they have done: Tori Smith, Kyra Freestar, Lea Galanter, Erica Akiko Howard, Tina Loucks-Jaret, Barbara Mulvey Little (Spokane), Ivonne Ward, and Polly Zetterberg. Other big changes have come from the Communications committee, which has been implementing our first-ever marketing plan to develop a unifying Guild voice for our public face and social media—the motto is “approachable, credible, and clear.” The committee, has designed beautiful marketing materials for Guild members to use in public, for example, at one of our half dozen regular regional meetings, plus topical meetings on technical editing, book clubs, …