An American Editor

June 15, 2020

On the Basics: Coping with recent events

Filed under: Editorial Matters,On the Basics,Philosophy & Ethics — An American Editor @ 2:07 pm

By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, Owner

An American Editor

I’ve been quiet here because I haven’t known what to say about the various crises we’re all facing these days. I’m still not sure, but a few things started bubbling up that I hope will be helpful to colleagues.

COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic offers some lessons for moving on and thinking about the future. Among other aspects, it’s a hard lesson in financial planning. I’ve written several times about planning for emergencies, and this event certainly qualifies as a huge one for so many of us. It reinforces the importance of moves like these.

  • Try to save money as you go along. The best and easiest way to do this is to “Pay yourself first” — take a certain percentage out of every payment and stash it in a savings account. What you don’t see, you can’t spend. If the habit is ingrained, it will also be much easier to maintain in uncertain times.
  • Diversify your work. If you freelance, make sure you have more than one client and type of project, just in case someone you rely on for income has to cut back. If you work in-house and can moonlight without jeopardizing your job, have at least one freelance project in hand. It could be a lifesaver if your company cuts back on your hours or salary during a crisis like this one.
  • Swallow your pride. We all go through hills and valleys in our work. If yours tanks due to circumstances beyond your control, you might have to find a different kind of work to get by. At least one of my colleagues took a job with one of the big-box stores when her freelance work dried up recently. She plans to go back to freelancing, but in the meantime, she has a paycheck and health insurance, even if it means doing non-editorial work. Others have turned to some of the low-paying job sites just to have income for now.
    Several organizations have put together financial aid services for members and colleagues. If you need help, look for those resources and make use of them.
    If you qualified for any of the pandemic-related government loan or grant programs, try not to use all of the funds at once; sock some away in savings for the coming months — we don’t really know if the pandemic is under control or might come back in another wave.
  • Live frugally. Don’t go overboard and make yourself and your family miserable, but try to keep impulse buying and living expenses under control. Such habits come in handy in difficult times and are easier to maintain if they aren’t new.
  • Communicate. Most of us have been quarantined in recent weeks, many of us have been home alone and some of us aren’t comfortable with resuming regular activities yet. Try not to cut yourself off from the world, even when it seems to be coming apart. Use the phone, social media, blogs like this one, and resources of professional associations and community services to stay connected with family, friends and colleagues.
  • Look after yourself. Get out of the house for walks around the block or neighborhood or to nearby parks. Take up new hobbies that you can do at home. Order meals from local businesses that do pick up or delivery. Ask for help if you need it. As businesses reopen and people try to go back to “normal,” continue to use smart health and safety habits.

Civil rights protests

The efforts to respond to, make sense of and prevent deaths of Black people by police officers don’t seem likely to end any time soon. As someone who worked for the Urban League and has been active in the Black press for years, I just don’t know how to handle recent and continuing events in this arena, or what to say here. I just hope there will be positive change, and soon. All I can suggest to colleagues is to be aware, make efforts to be inclusive and stay safe.

Ruth E. Thaler-Carter (www.writerruth.com) is an award-winning provider of editorial and publishing services for publications, independent authors, publishers, associations, nonprofits and companies worldwide, and the editor-in-chief and — as of 2019 — owner of An American Editor. She also hosts the annual Communication Central “Be a Better Freelancer”® conference for colleagues (www.communication-central.com), this year co-hosted for the second time with the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (www.naiwe.com), sponsored by An American Editor, and (still) planned for October 2–4 in Baltimore, MD. She can be reached at Ruth@writerruth.com or Ruth.Thaler-Carter@AnAmericanEditor.com.

June 3, 2020

On the Basics: A resource for writing and editing about current events

Filed under: Editorial Matters — An American Editor @ 11:15 am

By Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, Owner

An American Editor

Because our subscriber base is likely to include colleagues who write about or edit/proofread materials about current events, or whose employers/clients do so, I thought this resource from the Education Writers Association (EWA) might be of value. The EWA offers these tools for managing racial biases in covering current – and future – events:

https://www.ewa.org/blog-educated-reporter/tools-help-reporters-examine-their-racial-biases

And I remind colleagues of my An American Editor post about increasing diversity in your or your clients’/employers’ work:
https://americaneditor.wordpress.com/2020/03/02/on-the-basics-enhancing-diversity-and-inclusion-in-your-writing-and-workplace/

Stay safe, and stay woke.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: