What It Is (posts below left; rate sheet, client list, other stuff below right)

My name is Bob Land. I am a full-time freelance editor, indexer, and proofreader. This blog is my website.

You'll find my rate sheet and client list here, as well as musings on the life of a freelancer; editing, proofreading, and indexing concerns and issues; my ongoing battles with books and production; and the occasional personal revelation.

Feel free to contact me directly with additional questions: landondemand@gmail.com.

Thanks for visiting. Leave me a comment. Come back often.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

hyphenation, compound words, building freelance clientele, strange times

It's the easy words that'll trip me up. You'd think that after 34 years of marking up galleys (give or take), some things would stick . . . or at least I could proofread without a decent dictionary an arm's length away.

But that's not the case, and it's not because with my impending cognitive descent I am forgetting how to spell. But compound words and the (non)hyphenation thereof always send me scurrying to the Merriam-Webster's 11th, which must be followed.

Consider the following examples:

redheaded or red-headed
piggybacked or piggy-backed
bathwater or bath water or bath-water
good-bye or goodbye
grown-up or grownup
wood-burning or woodburning

It's this kind of stuff that I have to look up time after time. It's an offhand (off-hand?) application of the Pareto rule or the 80/20 rule, or however you know it: I spend most of my time looking up the same few words over and over again.

(By the way, MW11 says that the first instance of each of the above groupings is the correct spelling.)

American vs. British variants of English words I manage to remember. Class, if you're living in the United States, it's gray, not grey; leaped, not leapt; worshiping, not worshipping -- and if you are spelling "towards," "upwards," and "downwards" with the 's' at the end, you'd better be on the east side of the pond.

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Intern news: a local college is sending an intern my way beginning in January for her to complete her requirements as a technical communications minor (she is an English major). The last time I worked with an intern, I think it worked out well for her. I ended up referring some work to her and thus gave her a client (or part of one) to start a budding freelance career of her own.

And that's what I tell college-age groups when I speak to them. Don't plan on being a full-time freelancer right out of school. Go and get a real job (boy, would I love to put some scare quotes there), and start trying to freelance on the side. Set a goal of having two freelance clients by the time you're 25 years old, and then let it snowball with references and marketing and staying in place while all the full-time workers switch jobs and take your name with them. Aside from the age, that's how it worked with me -- although it was hardly that methodical. Many lucky breaks and connections, and in one case, the benefit of a writer/editor friend who never stayed at one job more than nine months. At one time I had eight different clients that resulted from places where he'd darken the doors for a little while and then leave. But he'd bring my name with him and leave it behind when the door hit his butt on the way out. Thanks, Tim.

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Interesting weekend, not all good. Went to a wedding party of a longtime (not long-time) friend whom I met while proofreading at a printing plant right out of college. We became very fast friends, the kind of thing that happens when you work with someone in cramped quarters under high pressure for little money for 70 hours a week -- and you have common interests to boot. At this party were people I'd not seen for anywhere from 10 to 15 to 25 years. While we've all grown older, whether or not we've grown up much is up for questioning. But a great time was had by all in reconnecting. A friend who hadn't seen me in years told Tere that she couldn't believe how talkative I've become -- like a different person. I think it's partially the effect of spending most of my waking hours these days in even more cramped quarters under higher pressure, alone. But I think what blew this friend away was seeing me even being chatty with strangers. Yes, I am a different person than I was in 1985/1990. I'm not sure I've grown up as much as figured out partially what it's like to act more like a human.

We spent the night in that town and then drove straight to the family visitation hours for a funeral of a 22-year-old we watched grow up, the son of our longtime next-door neighbors in Atlanta. Very, very sad. I won't go into details of the death, which apparently are a little sketchier than first believed, but suffice it to say that no 22-year-old oughta die, leaving behind parents and a younger brother. The late 22-year-old, his 19-year-old brother, my 19-year-old son, and my soon-to-be 16-year-old all grew up together, and we kept connections even after moving away from Atlanta, and we remain very good friends with the parents and surviving son, so it was a tough couple of days.

But speaking of reconnecting, we also at the funeral and visitation saw a bunch of people whom we hadn't seen nor spoken to since leaving ATL in 1997 -- and not all of whom we necessarily looked forward to seeing again, unlike the wedding. And we also saw a lot of the kids we knew back when they were 6 and 9 and 12 years old, now into late teenage and early adulthood years. Now, no one's kids are perfect -- certainly not my own -- but, well, if looking at most of them is any indication, I'm glad we moved away. I don't think any of them or their parents will happen upon this blog, and those who might get a resentment based on what I said will just be adding to the resentments they had 11 years ago. A few of the kids looked like they turned out all right (alright?), but, well. . . . 'Nuff said. Probably too much.

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Working on a book about the women of Opus Dei, as well as the memoirs of a Hungarian woman, mostly during WWII. Horrifying material thematically in the latter, the stuff of nightmares. But in comparison to most of the work I get, this reading is bordering on the pleasant. I know it won't last long.

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Found out over the weekend at the wedding party that most of my international readership is actually a globetrotting industrialist friend of mine checking in from foreign locales. So, instead of Moi and a cast of a score or two, I've got Moi and the industrialist, bless their souls, and someone who keeps checking in from NYC (could be my bro.) and a curious soul from Amherst MA. I think I'm the more curious one about that. Perhaps some things are better kept a secret.

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Gone on too long. Opus Dei awaits, and thence to bed.

2 comments:

moi said...

I'm in the same company as your globetrotting (one word, right?) industrialist friend? How very :o)!

Condolences on the loss of your family friend.

czar said...

Moi: You are first among equals. No offense intended to others.