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An editor’s week

Variety is a significant pleasure for a business-document editor. Not only is variety stimulating, but the work that comes across our desks at Hit Send (or rather, across our screens) also provides a fascinating insight into local and overseas businesses, government policy, and social impact work. 

MONDAY

First up is the Seafood Industry News. This is the bimonthly members’ magazine of the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council, and copyediting it is a regular job for me. I love it for the glimpses into the challenges, research and legislative changes affecting this sector. Here’s a link to the magazines.

My next job is a structural edit to produce a pocket book for farmers and landowners about planned burning. The first draft has been done, but it’s come to me for an opinion about how much content can be included, the ideal shape and size of the booklet, and the ‘voice’ that’s going to be suitable to read in the field. This is a fascinating task, and (unusually) I need to print everything off and spread it around on our meeting table to get started.

TUESDAY

Today brings several jobs from a client who writes reports for government. I check particularly for consistency and to ensure a match between table data and associated text. Clients such as this are ideal: they write well but value an independent pair of eyes.

Next to come in is a PowerPoint deck from my principal London client whose company is pioneering egg-free baking with aquafaba (chickpea liquid). I look forward to her presentations, as she is creative and can present a mass of information in a graphic and beautiful way. She is also dyslexic, which is where I can add value. She uses our UK overnight editing service and relies on me to return her work the same day, ready to use first thing when she wakes up.

A client calls to ask if I will edit a cost-benefit analysis for the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC – you bet, I’m passionate about work in this area. I also quote for a plain English copyedit of an annual report for a national charity later in the year. I finish my working day by editing a suite of template letters into plain, contemporary language for a not-for-profit organisation that is reviewing its philanthropy materials. I know these will be used repeatedly, so that’s satisfying.

WEDNESDAY

This is a long day. Wednesdays start early with an exercise class (recently on Zoom), and just as well, as I really need to straighten out my shoulders.

Back at my desk, I review the final text of a policy and procedure manual for staff in a home belonging to people living with disability. I’ve copyedited and formatted this previously, and this time the final version is back on my desk. I’m getting it ready for my client’s NDIS audit. I’ve loved this job because the organisation’s inspiring ethos shines through.

I’m interrupted only by an online express job, which involves proofreading some cartons before they go to print. I wish more people would get packaging and signage checked! This job comes from a new client in the USA who is starting to manufacture gorgeous baby products such as cuddle rugs. I fall into brief correspondence with her to help with various bits of wording and enjoy helping a startup.

THURSDAY

I make a start today on editing the web copy for an Australian security firm operating in the Middle East and worldwide. I do this by logging in directly to the website. Protection from terror attack is a topic far removed from baby goods, and I go to bed that night grateful I’m not in need of close protection services.

FRIDAY

I’ve no sooner proofread a LinkedIn article for someone when today’s major job arrives, a video script to accompany a training manual. The concept is excellent, but I suspect a committee has got involved – certainly there are a variety of voices and styles. I take a brush cutter to the passive voice and prune the script back to a version suitable for listening to and appropriate for the audience. As much of this means reading it aloud, be grateful that you and I don’t share an office.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors regularly holds a Friday lunch that I try to attend, but not at present of course. I begin preparing materials for a Facebook Live Q&A session on plain English that I’ll shortly be delivering for 26TEN, the Tasmanian Government’s literacy campaign. Helping people to write clear, straightforward English is close to my heart.

So, the jobs in my week are varied, but the unifying characteristic of 90 per cent of them is that they are needed, as they say, ‘yesterday’. The tender I’m to proofread in time for a Monday deadline hasn’t come in just yet.

Mel Roome is a Specialist business member of The Xfactor Collective – an Australian-first community comprising highly experienced and pre-vetted specialist businesses across 300+ areas of specialisation.

Need help in your organisation? We run the sector’s first Specialist triage support service (our CONCIERGE) where we can help you find support from a range of services and solutions.

mel

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