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Book Review: The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People by Pedram Shojai

Art of Stopping Time

By Emma Warnken Johnson

Mindfulness is everywhere these days. There seems to be an endless supply of books, articles, and apps touting its benefits. The practices vary, but they all seek to focus the mind on the present moment, shedding distractions and helping us appreciate the little things in our lives. I’ve been meaning to try mindfulness for quite some time, but never seem to be able to fit it into my busy schedule.

This makes The Art of Stopping Time: Practical Mindfulness for Busy People a timely book for me, and I suspect it will be for a lot of other busy editors too. Taoist monk and Qi Gong master Pedram Shojai adapts the 100-day Gong—a traditional Taoist practice—to create a mindfulness routine that can fit into a busy schedule. The book is divided into 100 short chapters, and each one describes a brief daily activity that promotes mindfulness and a healthier relationship to the way we think about and spend our time.

The activities vary widely. Readers are asked to do some breathing exercises, to stretch and relax their muscles, and to eat a meal without the distraction of other activities (like watching TV). Some days include simple activities designed to give your mind a short break, like going for a walk, taking a bath, or making a cup of tea—and several of these seem tailor-made for an editor who takes regular breaks to improve productivity. Other days are more reflective, asking you to think about how you spend their time and review your priorities. Reading through the activities, I found several that I thought I would enjoy and could easily integrate into my daily schedule. (more…)

Book Review: What Next? by Dr. Barbara Moses

What Next?

by Karen Kemlo

Dr. Barbara Moses, known as “Canada’s career guru,” is a leading expert in work satisfaction and career success. This updated third edition of her best-selling book What Next? has something for anyone who is at a crossroads in their career or work life.

From millennials starting out in their job searches to more mature workers changing careers, this is a great step-by-step guide to making the next move. But be warned—it’s a big read with lots of homework in the form of self-assessment questions. Although likely meant to instill greater self-reflection, the detailed questions often bring the book and the reader to a full stop.

The early chapters discuss the notion of identifying one’s “core motivators” for seeking certain types of work. Based on her research, Moses has identified eight motivational types: sociability seekers, career builders, authenticity seekers, personal developers, novelty seekers, entrepreneurs, lifestylers, and stability seekers. The challenge, according to Moses, is “to find a work environment that provides the best possible match.”

It’s a unique approach to career guidance, something I wish I’d known about when starting out in the work world. Perhaps it would’ve focused my early job and education goals sooner. It might have also saved me the horror of dead-end and minimum-wage jobs. But I also know that my 20-year-old self would never have taken the time to fill out all of the questionnaires in this book.

Given the current job market, and the rise of part-time and precarious work, it seems unrealistic to assume that all workers will always have the ability to choose. Sometimes you have to take jobs and work with difficult people, simply in order to pay the bills. Life challenges, such as downsizing, divorce or illness get in the way of career goals.

What Next? is still a great resource for people at different stages in their careers and touches on some of the issues that everyone has to deal with at some point: how to overcome job burnout, how to deal with difficult bosses, what to do if you’re fired, how to write a resumé, and the benefits of networking. These chapters are shorter and less detailed than the ones on self-assessment and motivational types. As a consequence, the author—and the reader—spend more time inside the world of ideas and ideal jobs than in the real world of work.

Karen Kemlo is a freelance editor and writer in Toronto. 

This article was copy edited by Ellen Fleischer

Webinar: The WordPress A to Z webinar series

Knowing how to use WordPress is an empowering and essential business skill in today’s world of writing, editing, collaborating and publishing online content. This is a four-part webinar series that will teach you how to use WordPress, the world’s leading content management system and blogging platform. It’s ideal for writers, editors, and anyone who needs to have a website or blog.

The four webinars are:

  • WordPress at 10,000
  • Building Your Site: Beyond The Basics
  • All About Blogging
  • Plugins: The Apps That Make WP Useful

This series is foundational and practical and covers everything that you need to know—no matter what type of website you wish to make. By attending this webinar series, you will be able to create a WordPress site.

Taking this series entitles you to a free WordPress site to practise what you’ll be learning.

This webinar is geared to editorial and communication professionals who are at any stage of their career, but who have little to no knowledge of WordPress.

Presenter: Bud Kraus
Dates: Wednesday, December 6; Thursday, December 7; Monday, December 11; and Tuesday, December 12
Time: 12 p.m., EST / 9 a.m., PST
Length: Four 75-min. sessions
Language: English
Level: Introductory
Member price: $192.50
Non-member price: $275
Register HERE


Bud Kraus has been teaching WordPress online and in NYC classrooms for many years. His WordPress series has been presented over the past few years for the Editorial Freelancers Association. Follow him on Twitter.

Save your eyes! Tips to reduce computer-related eye strain

Monitor glare

By Michelle Waitzman

Working in front of a computer monitor all day, as most editors do, takes a toll on your eyes. Here are some tips on how to reduce the eye strain that can lead to fatigue, headaches, dry eyes, and loss of concentration.

Beware of Glare

Glare is caused by light reflecting off your monitor and into your eyes. It can come from your windows or from light fixtures and lamps. Glare makes it harder to read your documents, reduces contrast, and can reflect bright spots into your eyes causing you to squint. It’s best to reduce glare at the source, but if that isn’t possible you can purchase an anti-glare screen to attach to your monitor.

Glare from daylight can usually be fixed by moving your monitor to a better position. Your monitor should be perpendicular to the window in the room, so that the daylight hits it from the side. Placing your monitor in front of the window will cause the backlighting to be too strong, which makes your monitor appear dark. Placing your monitor across from the window will cause the most direct glare.

Even with the monitor angled correctly to the window, glare can be an issue when the sun is low in the sky. Curtains or blinds are the best way to control the amount of daylight entering the room. (more…)

Promoting accessibility in editorial businesses

Web Accessibility Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

By Christine Albert

As a student enrolled in an editing program, I’m often asked to reflect on issues that may arise when working with clients. The discussion and module notes invariably focus on respect, clear communications, and diplomacy—about how the language of our queries and comments can affect authors. Yet, accessibility is rarely discussed, and few resources from professional associations or courses exist on how to make editorial businesses inclusive and accessible.

This lack of information on accessibility creates a disadvantage for those potential clients who may be physically or cognitively unable to use the same editing services as their peers. An author with multiple learning disabilities once explained to me that she found it difficult working with other editors: they simply wrote long comments using Track Changes, which she had difficulty reading. As a result, she had to constantly ask her transcriber to read her the edits and comments. After discussing the author’s needs, she and I worked out an alternate method that involved verbally communicating comments and large changes, which would let her work through the draft independently—a tactic that surprisingly hadn’t been considered by the other editors.

Lack of accessibility not only affects the services side of our businesses but it also affects our marketing efforts. Google searches for accessible and inclusive editing services turned up no relevant results. While searching editor websites, I was surprised to find that many do not follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) nor incorporate basic accessibility features. For instance, a number of websites could not be zoomed in when viewed on a tablet, while others did not have enough contrast between the text and background. As someone with moderate vision issues, I struggled to read the content on these websites. Potential clients with visual or learning disabilities may be deterred by these difficulties and look elsewhere for an editor. If we are to operate our editorial businesses successfully, we need to go beyond our assumptions of what clients need and make our services accessible so we can provide them with what they actually require. (more…)

Seminar: That’s the Chicago way: Learning to use The Chicago Manual of Style

Any good editor will tell you she’d be lost without her well-thumbed, heavily flagged, and coffee-stained copy of The Chicago of Manual of Style. But just what is this mysterious tome? And why is it so critical to the work we do?

This seminar will introduce you to the joys and sorrows of the book that most people simply call Chicago. We’ll start with a brief history of its publication, exploring how it grew from what was essentially a guide for compositors into the most trusted and widely used editorial style manual in North America. But the fun won’t stop there! We’ll also look at what it covers, how to use it, what has changed between the most recent edition and the previous one, and much, much more.

This course is highly recommended for anyone just starting to work as an editor or hoping to become one. (more…)

Webinar: Introduction to Microsoft Word styles 101

This webinar provides an introduction to styles in Microsoft Word for those who are new to styles of don’t feel comfortable with them yet. The key learning objectives of the webinar are

  • what styles are and why they’re useful,
  • what types of styles you can use in Word,
  • how to apply existing styles, and
  • how to create your own styles.

Date: Wednesday, February 22
Time: 2 p.m., EST / 11 a.m., PST
Length: 1.5 hours
Language: English
Member price: $56.25
Non-Member price: $75

Register HERE

Mike Pope
Mike Pope has been a technical writer and editor in the software industry for over 30 years. He lives in the Seattle area.