Torn about war

Hello, readers.

Let me first and foremost say that my blog is not and was never meant to be a political one. However, I do not wish to bury my head in the sand regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this week.

I was horrified by some of the images of the invasion that the news showed me this week. I can recall the camera shot of the city square in Kyiv with the Motherland Monument in full view with its arms outstretched, the streets empty as the terrifying wail of the siren filled the air. And that of the Russian tanks marching across the Ukrainian border like hungry monsters.

I keep thinking, “Putin, what did the Ukrainian people ever do to you?”

What I am torn about is how much we in the US should get involved. I know we have some troops over there and my heart breaks for each of these brave soldiers and their families. I personally don’t want another Iraq or Afghanistan. Biden has put sanctions on Russia; will that stop them or make them angrier? The sanctions are already starting to (slightly) affect my life in the form of the cost of gas and the fact that Apple deleted a song from my iTunes which happens to be by a Russian rock band (a song which I downloaded four years ago and which has nothing to do with war). The song was grayed out in my library.

On the other hand, we cannot just sit on our duffs and watch this happen. The people of Ukraine are desperately leaving the country and becoming refugees. They are suffering. They are getting hurt and killed for an evil reason. We have to do something. This reminds me way too much of what history taught me about World War II.

Has World War III begun?

I will leave it here.

9 to 5? Nope. And it doesn’t bother me.

Let me say it right now. If you want to work typical “9 to 5” hours, then freelance editing (or editing of any kind, for that matter) is not for you.

I worked for a few hours last Saturday afternoon; I did that so I could meet a deadline. Back in November, I worked Black Friday, while many folks were at the stores (not that I wanted to be at the stores). And I plan to work tomorrow, which is Presidents Day. (I know that not everybody gets a long weekend the third week of February, but a lot of people do, and many [though not all] of them might grumble if they had to work on that Monday.)

Ah, but I’m not here to whine and moan. Freelancing has plenty of advantages with regards to time. For example, if you are a night owl by nature, you can work in the evening or at night and sleep late in the morning. If you charge by the hour, you are only paid for the hours during which you actually work. This means that you don’t have to feel guilty if you take a break to have a snack (as long as you remember to turn off your timer).

You can also give yourself a day off if you need it or even want it. Last summer, I did not go on a vacation per se, but I did give myself one day off so I could visit Hersheypark. (Yes, it really is spelled as one word.) Or you can give yourself a day off if you need it to attend to an elderly relative. (I should add that if you take one or more days off, your clients need to know that you will be unavailable those days.)

One interesting thing I have found about freelance editing is that the common adage, “Poor planning on your part does not make an emergency on my part,” does not apply. Poor planning on your client’s part does and will make an emergency on your part. That’s part of the business. But then there are days when there is no editing to do. On these days, you must plan your marketing, tidy up, read books on editing and/or business…you should be doing things that are constructive.

If you are a freelance editor, how do YOU plan your days? Please let me know in the comments.

Part Two: Conferences, Conferences, and More Conferences

About a month ago, my professional career was dealt a blow. Not the most severe one it has withstood, but still a blow.

A conference, given by one of my professional organizations and which was supposed to take place this August, was canceled. Not postponed. Canceled. With a capital C. Can we guess why?

This happened even before registration opened. I had been planning to go to this conference, which was supposed to be my first ever professional event as an editor, for a long time. The really awesome thing had been that it was supposed to take place in Alexandria, Virginia, which is in the same metropolitan area where I live, and so I could have commuted and not had to stay in a hotel. My mother, bless her heart, had even offered me the convenience of staying at my parents’ home, which is near a Metro subway station, during the three-day conference and taking the Metro to Alexandria every day.

None of that is going to happen now.

The icing on the cake (sarcasm) is that this particular professional organization has a conference only once every three years or so–not annually. So there goes my chance for a long time. *sigh*

Another professional organization of which I am a member is having a conference in the early spring in San Antonio, Texas. I have known about this one since before registration opened last fall, and let’s just say I would love to go. I also give kudos to the organization for not canceling due to you-know-what. There’s just one problem…


In order to pay the conference fee, the hotel, the plane tickets, the ground transportation fees, and for meals, I would have to make a huge dent in my business account–one that I cannot afford to make. *sigh*

I would have loved to see San Antonio as well; I have never been to Texas.

So what’s an editor trying to learn, grow and network to do?

I’m going to keep saving money until the next conference that I know of comes up. It will be in the spring of 2023 in Columbus, Ohio. Hey, I can drive there in less than a day!

Dear readers, have any of you been to Columbus? What is it like? Please let me know in the comments.

Practicing What I Preach

My mother told me not too long ago that ever since I became an editor, I have been speaking better English.

The funny things about her compliment are (1) I didn’t even notice that my spoken English was better, and (2) I was not even consciously trying to speak better English.

I guess it goes with the profession. Don’t tell writers to use grammatically correct language when you don’t even do so yourself. In other words, practice what you preach.

I’ve found, however, that there are times when I do make a conscious effort to improve my grammar, both in speaking and in writing. For example, even though The Chicago Manual of Style says this is acceptable, I personally don’t like the use of “that” when referring to people. “That,” in my opinion, is for objects and animals. It is for this reason that I say, “The man who is married to Penny,” instead of “The man that is married to Penny.” The former just sounds so much better to me.

Or the use of the subjective vs. objective pronouns. At this point, I would not say, “Julie and me went to the arcade.” It’s easy to remember how to measure the correctness of such a sentence; cover up “Julie and” and read the rest of the sentence. “Me went to the arcade.” You wouldn’t say that, would you? That’s how I know I should say, “Julie and I went to the arcade.”

It works the same with reflexive pronouns. “Ronny, Johnny, Donny, and myself went to see the CEO.” Cover up everything to left of “myself” and read the sentence. See how incorrect it sounds? It should be “Ronny, Johnny, Donny, and I…”

My informal writing (mostly writing emails to friends) has improved as well, although I’m still occasionally guilty of writing to imitate speech, such as “I been trying…” Ohhhh…shame on me.

One word of caution: I’m not going to get into the who vs. whom argument in this post. Although “whom” is correct whenever an objective pronoun is called for, I (and several other editors) believe it is often too formal, especially in speech. “With whom did you go to the Sex Pistols concert?” Can you see a punk rock fan saying that? (Okay, maybe I’m stereotyping.)

Do you have any strong opinions on grammatical issues?