Out with the old? Nope!

Editors know that well-known style guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style and APA, are revised every several years and a new edition is released.

An editor should, of course, make every effort to obtain the latest edition of every style guide they use. But what to do with the previous edition they were using before?

Should they toss it into the recycling bin? Sell it on eBay? Donate it to a library?


If you are an editor, you should keep the previous edition of your style guides for “the time being” (I’ll explain what that means in a minute). Why?

Some authors or publishers may require that an older edition be used.

I found this out (almost the hard way) last week, when I edited a scientific review that was to be published in a certain journal. When I looked up the journal publisher’s style guide, I found that the publisher required APA 6th edition style.

APA is up to the 7th edition at the time that I type this. I ordered the 7th edition of the APA almost as soon as I heard that it had come out. I had already possessed the 6th edition for a few years…and thank Heaven I still had it, or I would have been in big trouble.

You know what? I almost didn’t have the 6th edition last week.

A year ago, I wondered what the 6th edition could do for me now that I had the 7th edition. So I asked my husband to sell it on eBay.

Less than a week later, I almost took a gig where the 6th edition was required, and I asked my husband to take the listing off eBay, which he promptly did.

Thus, I kept my APA 6th edition…and I am incredibly glad that I did!

I believe that if, for example, you have the 1st edition of a style guide and the 2nd edition comes out, you should obtain the 2nd edition but keep the 1st edition until the 3rd edition is released. Then, and only then, is it safe to get rid of the 1st edition.

Do you believe differently? If so, please comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Holiday in or out?

The Thanksgiving holiday is later this week and Christmas comes just a month later. Good grief! Where does all the time go?

Some editors might take holidays off from working. They might tell clients who approach them that they are not available during that time, or advise their long-term clients that they will not be available from this date to that date.

Do I work during the holidays?

Oh yes I do.

However, when possible, I plan my work time around the date of an actual holiday. For example, right now I have a project due on November 30 (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) which was handed to me on November 19 (the Friday before Thanksgiving). I have planned my work time so that I work on the project during Thanksgiving week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and (Black) Friday (I don’t join the shopping frenzy anyway), and then Monday, and put the finishing touches on it on Tuesday before sending it in that day.

Note that Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) is not in the plans. I will be with my family that day and I need that day to be with them. It’s called work-life balance.

Two years ago, I was handed a project shortly after Christmas, and it was due two days before New Year’s Day. I worked on it, including over a weekend, and completed it on time. A lot of people take off the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Not I.

Getting back to the work-life balance issue…Had the project been handed to me before Christmas, I would have planned the work around the holiday (not during it!) as I am doing now.

When I worked in biological labs, I once worked in a lab where the manager had no concept of work-life balance. You were expected to work long hours and basically be married to the lab. If you had a spouse or children, they were to play second violin. Needless to say, this lab had a high turnover rate, and I only lasted five months there. (Thank Heaven I didn’t have to stay longer!)

So tomorrow I begin editing the new project. Bring it on! Just be respectful of my work-life balance, please.

Reflections on turning 48

As my birthday is next Sunday, November 14, I will be taking that day off from blogging. This week, I am writing a post about my reflections on this past year.

What did I accomplish, business- and editing-wise, at age 47?

I began by continuing to edit a series of catalogs for the company for which a friend of mine works. This consisted of combing through many PDF pages and listing the required corrections in a Word document. It reminded me how much I need to learn how to edit PDFs directly (hello, Denise Cowle? I want to take your class on this.). However, I got to look at a lot of beautiful pictures of the company’s furniture in gorgeous settings, which was fun. The catalogs were finished in mid-December.

At the time, the church which I attend had just begun meeting in person again, but many attenders (my husband and me included) still opted to watch church online out of fear of COVID. The pastor was also wary of the disease, so he delivered his messages on video which was projected to the big screens in the church auditorium. That was where I came in. The captions and Bible verses and such that came on the video at specific times were checked and edited…by yours truly. The pastor returned in person on Easter Sunday (April 4) and that task vanished.

But…then the church began producing programs again, complete with Scripture outlines, so there was still work to be done. (Yay!) (I’m not being sarcastic here.) There were also Bible study materials to edit.

Alas, in late December, I learned a painful lesson, as my business suffered a blow due to a grave mistake I made. A sincere apology was made and the matter was buried, but it really put a damper on the holiday season. Also, in January, I did work for a researcher who then said he could not afford my fee, and I ended up giving him a huge discount, which did not feel good on my part.

However, in general, 2021 started with a cheerful bang. I began an assignment to edit the entire website of my friend’s company–a project which took me until the end of August (eight months!) and netted me a nice sum of money, which was paid monthly. Between pages of furniture, I managed to edit a scientific manuscript in March (and I would love to do more) and keep going with the church materials.

As for my pro bono work on the website of a local nonprofit, I handed the reins to a colleague from one of my organizations who was looking for pro bono work for herself. That felt good, as I was not leaving the organization high and dry.

I turned a profit in 2020 (Yay!) and will probably do so again in 2021 (Double yay!).

Age 47 was a difficult year for me personally, so I am ready to jump into 48, hoping the year will be kind.

The importance of having the right email address

Ten days ago, I took the plunge and changed my business email address.

Why would I do such a thing, you may ask?

When I started my business three years ago, I knew that I would need an email address for it that was separate from my personal email address. At that time, I mistakenly believed that I was a proofreader, and so I made up an email address almost on the spot which contained a reference to proofreading. (Sorry, but I am keeping the actual address to myself, out of respect for my own privacy.)

Alas…I soon realized that what I did for my new career was not proofreading, but copyediting.

In one class I took a year and a half ago, our teacher suggested that I get a new email address–one that more accurately reflected what I do. Otherwise, she said, potential clients (and other people) might think I am a proofreader who knows nothing about copyediting.

“The teacher is definitely right,” I thought, “but changing an email address once everyone knows it is such a pain in the rear end! I’ll never be able to do it. Woe is me!”

I finally stopped whining ten days ago and changed the address. I made up one that references copyediting instead of proofreading and made it active.

But then came the hard part–letting all of my contacts know about my new email address and asking them to use it from now on.

Thank Heaven that I keep an Excel spreadsheet of my past and present clients’ names, affiliations, and email addresses. I used the spreadsheet to make a list of client email addresses, plus addresses of other important contacts. Then, I composed my email:

“Good afternoon. This is to inform you that my email address has changed. The new email is […]. Please make a note of it. Thank you very much.”

The last step was typing each email address into the “To” field from scratch. Yes, this was a drag, but very necessary.

My email address is much more accurate now, and I love it. My old one is still active in order to “catch” folks I may have missed (and whom I will notify of the change very soon).

Have you ever changed your email address? How easy or difficult did you find the process?