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!

The Guild’s mascot, Giant Pencil, demonstrates proper (and stylish!) mask use. Photo credit: Jill Walters.

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 and pantries, the dire need for which will sadly be with us for a long time to come.”

However the pandemic is affecting you and your business, we hope that you’re staying safe this summer, and we will continue to do our best to keep the editing community connected.

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Jen Grogan

In addition to being the Guild's administrator, Jen Grogan is a mother, writer, editor, and web content specialist based out of Seattle, where she lives with her husband, their baby son, a loud but adorable cat, and too many books. She’s written for Women Write About Comics, The Dream Foundry, and a few other online venues, but has not yet convinced herself to call any of her fiction manuscripts complete. As an editor, she encourages others to do as she says, not as she does. In her free time (mostly theoretical right now) she enjoys knitting, hiking, calligraphy, leading school tours for the Seattle Art Museum, and traveling. You can find her online at jengrogan.com.