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, …

English as We Have Loved It

September 16, 2019 By Marilyn Schwartz, guest blogger and co-author of the new Copyeditor’s Handbook and Copyeditor’s Workbook Editor’s note: You can meet Marilyn at the Red Pencil Conference on September 21. She would be delighted if fellow conference attendees take the initiative to introduce themselves and even ask her a copyediting question or two. Join us in welcoming Marilyn to the Northwest, won’t you? When Amy Einsohn’s classic Copyeditor’s Handbook was first published in 2000, at least 50 percent of copyeditors in the book industry (a sector of publishing rarely ahead of the technology curve) were still marking paper manuscripts with No. 2 pencils, according to panelists at a conference for on-screen editing held in San Francisco that year. Many deft amateurs still learned their craft, as Amy and I had, by apprenticing to a battle-tested in-house editor or by following hand-marked foul copy while proofreading typeset galleys. Publishers, the traditional gatekeepers of content, still typically anointed lucky authors for fifteen minutes of fame, although spurned writers sometimes resorted to the widely disparaged practice of “vanity publishing” by digging into their own pockets. Some of us editors even had “real jobs”—the kind with regular paychecks and benefits. (Secure in my niche as managing editor at the University of California Press, I was among the fortunate ones.) The culture and practice of editing have profoundly changed since then. With major disruptions to the publishing industry over the past twenty years, especially the elimination of thousands of staff editorial jobs, more editors now work as independent contractors. The old apprentice system for training novices has nearly disappeared. Freelancers typically acquire and update their skills through formal academic programs and the education offered by their professional associations. For their daily work they rely on the advice of colleagues in their online editorial communities rather than on the guidance of a senior editor peering over their shoulder. And that “hive mind” buzzes with business talk: sole proprietorships, LLCs, and incorporation; editorial labor contractors and online scams; small-business and self-employment taxes; rates, billing, and collections; negotiations and client relations; health care and retirement plans; marketing, marketing, and, of course, marketing. Meanwhile, new technologies and publication outlets enable writers from every social stratum to bypass traditional publishers and seek an audience directly. The growing number of “indie” writers claiming public space has democratized authorship and removed the stigma of self-publishing. Freelance editors now assist many such nontraditional clients, offering an expanded menu of services once provided by conventional publishers, including fact-checking, art editing, permissions research, project management, formatting and design, proofreading, indexing, printing and e-book distribution, and even marketing and order fulfillment. New editorial specialties and freelance opportunities have also emerged since the clock turned on our new century. The US Plain Language Movement, a post–World War II effort to reform government and corporate gobbledygook, received a boost with the Obama administration’s federal Plain Language Act of 2010. Now government and business organizations hire editors to simplify documents addressed to the general public. The Plain …

Red Pencil Conference 2019: Access to Learning

SEPTEMBER 5, 2019 By Kyra Freestar Dear editors, I am looking forward to September 21 and this year’s Red Pencil Conference—a day for learning new skills and discovering new ideas and approaches to the practice and business of editing. I joined the conference committee with one goal: for everyone who attends the conference—whether it’s their first editing conference or their twentieth—to learn and grow as editors. My focus on the committee is accessibility. Accessibility can mean many things. Everyone’s needs and experiences are different. In the writing and editing world, plain language is defined as language that allows users to find, understand, and use the information they need. This definition focuses on the end result—it’s about people getting what they need. Along those lines, my current definition of accessibility is an environment that allows each of us to find and use the space we need to participate and to learn. That includes physical, mental, emotional, and even social space. So this blog post is about what accessibility means to me and why I think accessibility is something we create together, for ourselves and for each other. For our own voice and for others’. (If you’re already on board and need no convincing, skip to the end for some ideas on what you can do to help make this happen.) You can find specific information about physical access to participating in the Red Pencil Conference 2019 on the conference FAQ page, under the Accessibility tab. This information has been updated! Go read it now! Why focus on accessibility? Over the past eight years, I’ve had some health challenges, as have some close family members and friends. I have friends who have gone through chemotherapy and friends who have had major injuries that resulted in ongoing physical disability. I also have friends who have given birth or spent time caring for relatives—experiences that are part of normal life for healthy people, yet often lead to periods of time when physical, mental, and emotional energy is depleted. In other words, I’ve learned firsthand that each person’s capacity to participate in life’s adventures is different, and for most of us, it is constantly changing. For me, it took this personal experience to start noticing the things that can make life difficult for others and to start doing the work to ensure that an event like the Red Pencil Conference is accessible to as many editors as possible. This means thinking about physical access and mobility. About visual and auditory access. About fragrance and food sensitivities that make it hard for some people to spend long hours in social settings. About energy levels and overwhelm and social anxieties that have the same effect. And about what makes us feel heard, included, valued, welcome. I want everyone at the conference to be able to learn and grow. Access to learning is not just about the physical. What’s privilege got to do with it? I love editing, partly because of the constant opportunities to learn new things. …

Q&A with Nevin Mays, mentoring program coordinator

August 27, 2019 Editor’s note: Meet Nevin Mays in-person at the upcoming Red Pencil conference, where she’ll answer your burning questions about being a mentor or mentee in a session called “Q&A: Mentoring for Editors.” See you there! Like all Northwest Editors Guild activities, our peer mentoring program is an all-volunteer affair, from the mentors and mentees to the volunteer who holds the program together—the mentoring program coordinator. The mentoring program was launched by Guild member Julie Van Pelt, out of Port Townsend, Washington, in late 2014. Julie handed the reins to Kyra Freestar, in Seattle, at the end of 2016. In April of this year, Nevin Mays, in Portland, took on the coordinator role, and she is bringing new ideas and enthusiasm to the job. We thought it would be fun to hear some of Nevin’s thoughts about professional mentoring. Q: What inspired you to step up to coordinate the Guild’s mentoring program? A: I am a huge believer that members of communities should actively work to pull up other members of their community, and mentorship is one way we do that, especially in professional settings. I think a mentorship program is especially important for an organization that supports people who so often work in solitude. I’m looking forward to supporting the mentoring program and everyone involved with it.  Q: You recently participated in the Guild’s mentoring program as a mentee. What was that experience like? A: It was fantastic to have a professional editor who supported my goals and helped me work through the things that were blocking me from reaching those goals. One of the things I wanted to work on was marketing my business, so over the course of our conversations, I put together a list of concrete materials and tasks that I’ll continue to implement in the coming months. My mentor also helped me gather up the courage to take on some speaking gigs that I don’t think I would have taken on without her encouragement.  Q: And you’re a mentor yourself for another organization, right? A: I volunteer for Dress for Success Oregon as a mentor. The mentoring program matches professional women with Dress for Success Oregon clients “to provide support and structured assistance, offering help getting, keeping, and advancing in a job.” My mentee and I work on setting short-term and long-term goals (we both do this!) and then meet about once a month to check in and make sure we’re both still on track and to discuss any obstacles we’ve encountered recently. I make sure she knows she can talk about the good and the bad things about her work and her life. I don’t always have ideas to “fix” what’s not great, but I try to at least be someone she can vent to and celebrate with as she navigates work and life. Q: What do you think is unique about mentoring relationships? A: Each relationship is different, but at its best, professional mentoring is a way that both parties can …

A Q&A for the Board Curious

August 1, 2019 By Elaine Duncan Anyone who wants to know more about serving on the Guild’s board of directors is invited to an open board meeting on Monday, August 12, 6:30 p.m. Email Elaine@edsguild.org or editor@aliciazramos.com to let us know you’re coming and get location details. Until then, current Guild president Elaine Duncan discusses why members should consider board service in 2020 and answers the most frequently asked questions. UPDATE: The next board recruitment happy hour is Monday, August 26 in Seattle. Full details on our events page. Can I serve on the board? Of course! The Guild is an all-volunteer organization blessed with incredible richness in the skills of its members, all of whom collectively have helped make it what it is today. We are on a sound financial footing, have a well-developed committee structure to accomplish our work, and have a solid five-year strategic plan to guide our efforts. New projects are in the works: expanded outreach, a revitalized speaker’s bureau, and a new marketing plan, to name a few. We meet as a board just six times per year, but the real work of running the Guild occurs in the handful of committees that offer a wide range of opportunities for contribution. The details are described in our current FAQs for Prospective Board Members. Why would I want to serve on the board? Here are some reasons: Board service is fun. You get the opportunity to meet and work with a range of friendly people who share your interest in editing. You will learn more about the editing profession in the Pacific Northwest and how other writers and editors approach their craft. It’s fulfilling. Everyone brings something different to board service, but more important, everyone takes away something different. You will grow as a person and an editor, make new friends, develop confidence in new skills, and know that you have made the Guild better by your contribution. It’s brief. We ask for a two-year commitment, starting in January. You will see that change happens incrementally as board members come and go, which helps keep things on an even keel. Just as personalities on the board change, the collective wisdom and our detailed documentation on the functions of all the varied board roles help keep the Guild on track. No prior experience necessary. We will fill you in on the nuts and bolts of serving on a board and what is expected in the roles you choose. It is our diversity—in perspectives, work experience, background, and skills—that makes things happen. Like to keep notes? Tinker with budgets? Contribute to social media or post blogs? Want to try developing a webinar? Videotaping member meetings? Build new relationships? Offer your opinions on Guild direction? Then, by all means, we need you! But by the same token, you don’t need to be an expert in anything: just be willing to contribute some time, energy, and thought. You could be president. If you like thinking ahead, serving on the board makes you eligible to …