Macros, macros everywhere

Since July 18, I have been taking an online class in which I have been learning and studying the art of MS Word macros.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with macros, they are keyboard shortcuts that an editor can use in order to make their work go faster and more efficiently. Since my macros class has been going on, I have learned to download and run a great number of macros.

Some are speed-editing macros, which provide me with a way to perform common editing steps in less than a second. For example, a macro called CapperMax allows me to highlight a sentence, then press Alt+Shift+X, and voila! The sentence is capitalized in headline style. (I can undo this by running another macro, CapperMin [Alt+Shift+N], which lowercases words in the headline to put it in sentence style.) Another macro, NumberToText (Ctrl+Alt+N), will change a numeral to a text number, while TextToNumber (Ctrl+Alt+T) will change a text number to a numeral. These are very handy for a scientific editor like me. There are dozens more speed-editing macros, but I can’t possibly talk about all of them now.

There are also internet macros, which I love even more than the speed-editing macros. GoogleFetch allows me to put my cursor anywhere in a word, press Ctrl+Alt+G, and boom, a Google search page pops up on my screen with links for a search on that word. Similarly, MerriamFetch allows me to do the same thing with the Merriam-Webster free site by pressing Ctrl+Alt+M with my cursor inside the word that I want defined. In an optional intermediate class lesson, I created a macro called ChicagoFetch, which sends me right to the site for The Chicago Manual of Style (although I’m still working the kink out of that one, which is that once I reach the Chicago site, I am not logged in yet).

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that all of the Word macros—thousands of them—were written and programmed by a gentleman in the UK named Paul Beverley, who gave our teacher, Jennifer Yankopulus, permission to use them in the class. I think that Mr. Beverley is an absolute genius and that Ms. Yankopulus is a great teacher.

This coming week (Week 3 in a six-week class), we will learn how to back up our macros. I am greatly looking forward to this lesson because I know from the class discussion forum that some students lost their macros when their computers updated, and so they had to reinstall them. How frustrating!

If you are an editor, do you use macros? What are your favorite ones?

Oh my, I’m a leader!

This past week, I developed a skill that I hadn’t really ever focused on before: leadership.

A leader? Me? No! I’m a born follower! I can’t be a leader!

Oh, really?

I am on the Board of Directors of my homeowners’ association and have been since 2018. I ran for the Board position because other homeowners had urged me to for years; they believed that I would be a good asset. When I was first “elected” (no one ran against me because not many people want the seemingly thankless role of being on the Board), I volunteered to be the secretary; the truth was that the secretary and the treasurer didn’t have to do anything extra because the property manager took care of the minutes and the finances. I learned the ropes of reading and understanding the monthly financial reports, knowing what was going on in the community, and asking questions at bimonthly Board meetings.

At some point, I was promoted to vice president. To this day, I don’t know how this happened. We did have two Board members retire in 2019, and I suspect that is how.

The president of the Board is a whip-smart, no-nonsense firecracker of a woman who has been a Board member for many years and runs our meetings with authority and poise. Last May, she informed the rest of us that she would be absent at our July 19 meeting because she was going to be working as an election judge at a polling place for the Maryland primary. That meant that I, as vice president, would be running that meeting.


What, me run a Board meeting? I’ve never led any kind of meeting!

Okay. Step one: take a deep breath.

Step two: Take up the president on her gracious offer to coach you before the meeting. Meet with her twice and listen as she goes over what will need to be discussed.

Step three: Organize, organize, organize your thoughts on paper in the order in which things have to be presented (according to you—this will stretch your decision-making muscles).

And on July 19…step four: walk into the meeting place and run the meeting.

Things went very well. I referred often to my notes and led the discussions by focusing on one issue at a time, but also making sure not to spend too much time on any one issue. We had a lot to discuss, but I had the meeting over in (very slightly) less than one hour. I later found out that the secretary had told the president that I did a very good job (God bless the secretary).

And I enjoyed leading the meeting more than I thought I would.

So let us add leadership to my skill set.

If you consider yourself a born follower, has there been anything in your life or career that made the hidden leader in you come out?  

A good sign

I’ve been a freelance editor for three and a half years now; it will be four years come October. You might call me a newbie at this, but I have turned a profit for every calendar year that I’ve been in business except for the first. I’ve also built up a client base and am getting more and more clients as time goes on. I’m definitely where I should be.

This month, I added a new client, which is actually a company, to my freelance business. This week I edited my first manuscript from said company. The manuscript was challenging, yet very satisfying to work on. I worked on it for four days and completed it last Friday. I also completed an assignment from a longtime client during this time.

While I was working on these projects, another person from the company reached out to me with more work, asking if I could take it on. I had to tell them I was booked until such-and-such a date, but I would be more than willing to do more work for them after that date.

Booked? Me?

This has happened maybe one other time in my freelancing career and the fact that it’s happened more than once is a milestone for me. It means that I am in demand. It means that I am getting noticed and people want me to edit for them.

Some of the veteran freelance editors in my professional associations are booked months in advance, and I yearn to be the same way. I feel as if I am on my way to being that much sought after.

Oh man, listen to me blowing my own horn. Pardon me.

I love being busy (what freelancer doesn’t?) and the more people hear about me, the busier I will obviously get. Bring it on! I’m very good at managing my schedule.

Never give up!

That’s something that I have heard an infinite number of times and most people have also heard an infinite number of times.

That’s probably because it’s true.

Those of you who know me well know that I have been applying for some editing jobs here and there, hoping to find something to supplement my freelancing income. I find these jobs on LinkedIn, Indeed, and the websites of the professional editing organizations to which I belong.

This past May (not too long ago) I applied for an Editorial Assistant position to a company that works with scientific journals. I was interviewed not long after I applied, and the interview went pretty well. I thought that I had a good shot of getting the job. One of the interviewers told me that the team would make a decision by the end of the following week.

The end of the following week came and went, and during the week after that, I heard nothing. I followed up that Friday, saying that I was still interested in the position and politely asking about the status of my candidacy.

Another week came and went after that. I sighed heavily and figured that the company had ghosted me. I decided that the company just plain didn’t want me and that I should forget about them.

But guess what?

Three and a half weeks after I had the interview, one of the people who interviewed me sent me an email. It turned out that they had selected another candidate for the position I applied for, but they were interested in having me do freelance work for them.

*insert happy dance here*

On July 5, I will start working on editing a paper that was given to me late Friday afternoon by a person who found out about me from one of the people who interviewed me from this company. Another new client is ALWAYS a good thing!

As I said before…Never give up!