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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, Tasmanian government policy, and plans for our State.

Monday

First up is the bimonthly Seafood Industry News. This is the magazine newsletter 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, with design by Creative Hum.

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 a professional 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. 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 my 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 business plan to go out to investors for a significant capital-raising initiative – yes, of course – and I quote for a plain English copyedit of an annual report later in the year. I finish my working day by editing a small suite of company template letters for style, consistency and contemporary language. I know these will be mailed to thousands of customers, so that’s satisfying.

Wednesday

This is a long day. Wednesdays start with a regular business breakfast, which is both fun and valuable. At Business over Breakfast (BoB) we refer business to each other, and take it in turns to educate our colleagues about our business (as seen here).

Back in the office, I review the final text of a health and safety manual for one of Tasmania’s largest employers. I’ve copyedited this previously, and this time the final version is back on my desk. It’s fair to say it’s pretty meaty.

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.

Mel Roome presenting at Business over Breakfast

Thursday

I’m still working on the health and safety manual today, but I spend a few minutes tweaking a radio ad for an advertising agency and editing a marketing brochure, both for the health insurance industry. I also make a start on copyediting the web copy for an Australian security firm operating in the Middle East and worldwide. Protection from terror attack is a topic far removed from baby goods or private health, 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 fortunately not today. I begin preparing materials for a plain English course I’ll shortly be delivering for 26TEN, the Tasmanian Government’s literacy campaign. Training people in writing clear, straightforward English is close to my heart and gets me out and about.

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

2017-04-26T07:19:18+00:00