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The Nitpicker’s Nook: January edition

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

The Nitpicker's Nook, Carol Harrison
By Carol Harrison

Forgive me if this is a couple of months old, but it’s funny! Don’t fart in the House.

What you should read before you say fart in the House of Commons.

Kudos to The Weeknd who takes time between hit singles to save a lost Ethiopian language.

And speaking of saving a language, two Fulani brothers invent an alphabet for their language. Now they’re working on a font.

“A rose by any other colour looks just as sweet!” How did colours get their names?

And why you shouldn’t mix your colours in the wash.

Try to or try and; there is no do.

The latest kid on the gender-neutral block: Latinx.

Carol Harrison is editor-in-chief of BoldFace and freelance editor and writer at Muse Ink. When she isn’t focusing on words, she’s focusing her Nikon D3200.

This article was copy edited by Ellen Fleischer.

Freelancing: Dressing up for the occasion

By Vanessa Wells

Freelancing: Dressing up for the occasion

Two years ago, Whitney Matusiak offered some good advice on BoldFace about wardrobe considerations for freelancers. Today I’m going to sing the praises of dressing up for working (mostly) at home. I am amazed at those who work in their jammies. Amazed in wonder, not judgment. The only things I can accomplish in my nightwear are scrolling through Facebook and drinking my first coffee.

My POV is about preparation, discipline, and focus. I am hyper-organized. I love lists. They are my modus operandi for life and work. In order to be productive, though, I must be “ready for my day,” and the physical must precede the psychological. (See the first point on Emma Gannon’s blog post about being self-employed.) (more…)

Freelancers, beware of scammers!

By Olga Sushinsky

Freelancers, beware of scammers!

Anyone who freelances must’ve encountered at least one fraudulent client/employer in their lifetime—and not necessarily through those “Make $100/hour from home” banners that pop up on legit websites every once in a while. Editors and non-editors alike can easily fall prey to less-obvious scams, ones that are so sophisticated that they might appear to be true. Before I give you some tips on how to spot this latter type of scam, let me share my story.

As a stay-at-home parent and freelancer, I always look for opportunities to work with different clients/employers. So, when I received an invitation on Upwork to submit a proposal for a non-editorial job, I decided to give it a try. After all, every experience counts. To make a long story short, I had an interview via Skype, received a job offer on the very same day, and had a training session the day after. Everything was going well. I was to work for a company located in the United Kingdom performing virtual assistant duties and receiving a yearly salary of US$56,400, which would roughly equal C$75,000, paid bi-weekly.

The situation couldn’t be any better! (more…)

The freedom of freelancing (and other ironies)

By Judy Ann Crawford

The freedom of freelancing (and other ironies)

When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, “Okay. Okay. I’ll come.”—Dr. Maya Angelou

It’s the freedom. Freelance writers say that’s the best thing about their job. They sometimes even gaze dreamily into the middle distance as they say it (drama goes with the territory), but just give them a few seconds. Their smiles soon dissolve and their faces cloud over because, ironically, the freedom can also be the worst part.​

Personally, I’ve found that being the boss of my own time is really awesome. For example, if I want to celebrate that new assignment with a Starbucks venti vanilla latte and browse through Chapters for a while, that is entirely my prerogative. (more…)

Five thoughts on getting and keeping new clients 

By Denyse O’Leary 6iyX7LL4T

Things have changed a lot from the days when a computer took up a large room, instead of a zipper case in a backpack. But fortunately, good business practice has not changed. Here are some concepts that have helped many of us stay solvent over the years:

  1. Specialize.

We don’t get face time with clients just by saying we need work; we get it by building confidence over time that we can solve the specific problems they identify. For example, one area I specialized in early was indexing. Indexes add greatly to the value of non-fiction works, but most authors can’t write them, and most editors are too busy to do it when it must be done—in the last stages of publication.

Other old-timers have made editing for science journals or checking a foreign language translation their specialty. Over the years, an editor’s reputation grows among clients who need the specialty—because, no surprise, those people tend to all know each other. (more…)