BRANCHING OUT

As most of you know, my editing specialties are in the biological and biochemical sciences. I have, after all, an MS in biochemistry.

However, in my time as a freelance editor, I have learned to branch out, or “diversify,” to be more refined. I believe that this must be done in order to succeed as an editor. It’s just common sense.

For example, I edit materials for my church. Now, none of them have anything to do with the sciences. However, quite a bit of fact-checking can be involved in the form of looking up Bible verses in different translations of the Bible. There is an absolutely wonderful website, BibleGateway.com, which one can search to find just about any Scripture verse in any Bible translation. Since the programs at my church contain Bible verses, I could not do my job without this website.

Another way in which I have diversified is in my editing of the website and catalogs of an outdoor furniture company, Country Casual Teak, which sells very beautiful teak outdoor furniture. My job here requires more of a sharp eye than anything else, since I have to compare prices on a PDF with prices on a master spreadsheet, for example, or make sure that a product’s dimensions are correct and consistent. Although such work can be tedious at times, I enjoy it, largely because I get to see so many beautiful photos as a fringe benefit.

This past week, I was assigned a scientific paper to edit which was in a field that was very different to me: economics and logistics. I surprised myself by being able to understand the terms used and the logic behind the conclusions. I found myself having impostor syndrome while I was working on this paper, and I still have it now, because I do not yet know whether the authors approve of my work. If things go well, however, I will definitely be able to claim a huge victory.

How about you? How do you diversify?

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

What’s in a business name, more precisely?

I recently changed the name of my editing business and the change took effect in late September. My original name was “Suzelle Fiedler, Proofreader LLC.” I changed it to “Fiedler Editorial LLC.

The latter, I believe, sounds much more professional than the former. The former name was one which I pretty much made up on the spot one evening after realizing that my business needed a name. (Duh.) It turned out that, at the time, I had confused copyediting (what I do) with proofreading (something many people think I do). I wish to emphasize that this happened three years ago, and both I and my business have grown by leaps and bounds since.

As I said earlier in this post, the name change took effect in late September. Would you believe that I first put the wheels in motion to change my name back in late July? I had to pay a sizeable amount of money, make phone calls, get my Articles of Amendment from the state where I live, and then wait until my state recognizes the new name (eight weeks–and I did not know it would take that long).

After that, I had to close the bank account of my formerly named business and open a new account under the new name of my business. This was terribly hard. It involved several trips to the local bank and dealings with some people who were not nice, to say the least. Last week, the new account was finally established. Yippee!

However, today I got a package at my door from the bank. It contained things which I had never gotten when I opened the first account with the old name. I had only asked for checks. Instead, I got things that I don’t even know how to name, much less use. And so tomorrow I must haul myself to the bank again, this time with the box, and ask what went wrong.

After all of this, do I regret changing the name of my business?

Absolutely not!

The new name is much better than the old, and I am very glad that I have it now.

Have you ever changed your business name? How easy or hard was it for you?

KNOWING WHEN TO SAY “WHEN!”

Please allow me to write today about limiting my intake.

Intake of what? Food? Caffeine? Alcohol?

No, no, and no. I’m talking about TV news.

I have recently renewed my effort to limit my exposure to TV news. It is not uplifting or encouraging at all, because, let’s face it–bad news sells. (I remember years ago hearing a story about a newspaper that was created to report only good news, and that it did–and went bust less than a year after its founding.) And in the TV industry, as everywhere, it’s all about the money, right?

I now actively turn on the news only for the local weather forecast. Oftentimes, I have to suffer through local news stories while waiting for the forecast. However, the local news isn’t as bad as the national news, which is horribly sensationalistic in my opinion. ABC, NBC, and CBS want to hold the viewer’s attention, so they spread colorful graphics on the TV screen and have their anchors and reporters talk loudly and dramatically. Before now, I watched the national news’s reports about COVID and how it’s getting really bad again and how the vaccine’s effectiveness is waning, et cetera, and felt my face grow longer as the broadcast went on.

My one cousin once stated that the local news is actually more depressing than the national news. “First story–a murder. Second story–a murder. Third story–a stabbing. And so on.” (At the time, my cousin and I were both living in the Washington, DC area, so your local news may vary.) I respectfully disagreed, however. The local news is not nearly as discouraging as the national news.

For those of you who regularly watch Bad Morning America (Good Morning America) or The Blah Show (The Today Show): Have you ever noticed how at the end of every story, an anchor always says something like, “Such a tragic story. Thank you, Bruce,” or “Absolutely heartbreaking. Thanks, Jennifer.” They never say anything positive. That’s because there never is anything positive on those shows. Or so it seems.

Do you agree?

LINKEDIN IS NOT EQUAL TO FACEBOOK!

I have been active on LinkedIn for a few years now–enough time to watch it evolve.

Or, should I say, devolve.

Don’t get me wrong–LinkedIn can be very useful for landing jobs or clients, and I believe it is still worth being a part of. I’m saying that it’s devolving because it’s looking more and more like Facebook. LinkedIn was created to be a professional tool, not the mess that Facebook is.

Back on February 28 of this year (I am well known for remembering obscure dates), one of my LinkedIn connections posted a video of a Croatian one-man band frenetically playing all of his instruments at once and making beautiful music as he did. Was the video appealing to me? Of course it was. Did it belong on Facebook? Of course it did. Did it belong on LinkedIn? Absolutely not.

A lot of people seem ignorant of the fact that potential employers look at LinkedIn all the time. When a young man posts on LinkedIn a photo of himself holding a sign that says “3 Years Sober Today!” that says to potential employers that he is a possible loose cannon who could relapse without warning any day. (I’m painfully aware that I am going to get all the hate in the social media world for saying this, but the truth hurts, people.) This kind of post, however, would be perfectly at home on Facebook, where people would congratulate the sober young man and share his victory with their friends (as they should).

Don’t get me started on the comments that people make on LinkedIn, either. One woman who identified herself as a nurse once made a comment which many thought was heartless on a post that I do not remember clearly. Along came a person who read the nurse’s comment and replied, “You’re a nurse? Crap, you need help.” [sic] This kind of reaction would be appropriate on Facebook but highly unprofessional on LinkedIn. People are just as nasty in comments on LinkedIn nowadays as they are on Facebook, and I think that is a great shame.

As for me, I left Facebook almost four years ago, deleting my profile and everything–not just deactivating it. I simply had had enough being attacked my total strangers just for having an opinion and losing friends through posts with which I did not agree or, even worse, having my friends attack me just for having an opinion. I am staying on LinkedIn, though, and being as professional as possible.