Types of Projects
I work with authors at all stages of writing projects. Some people start working with me toward the beginning of a project, when they’re organizing their notes and thoughts. Some generate a draft before they approach me. Some come to me after they’ve gotten readers’ reports asking for changes.
One of the services I offer clients who ask for it is a diagnosis of which writing skills they should focus on. Knowing your diagnosis is empowering for several reasons. When you hit an obstacle in your writing, you’ll know which skill to look at first as the possible source of the problem. It also changes your inner narrative about your writing. Instead of hearing “I’m a bad writer who just can’t seem to get the hang of it,” you’ll hear something like “I’m a decent writer who’s working on interacting more deeply with my sources” or “I’m a growing writer who’s learning to slay with a variety of sentence structures.”
The types of writing projects I typically help clients with include (but are not limited to) this list:
- Book chapters
- Book proposals
- Job application letters
- Recommendation letters
- Grant proposals
I highly recommend at least one or two Skype sessions when you need developmental editing. You’re probably much more articulate about your work when you talk than you are in writing (almost everyone is). That’s because you’ve been talking for many hours a day since you were two but probably spent less than a couple of hours a week expressing yourself in writing from the time you were about eight or nine. The areas of your brain that generate speech are strong and deeply integrated into other brain areas. Your neural pathways for writing aren’t nearly as strong yet.
In a Skype session, I get a clearer picture of your overall goal with your writing project and get important cues from you about what you see as the most important aspects of your work. I also get to know you a little bit, which helps me understand where you’re coming from, what type of thinker you are, and what’s important to you.
The benefit to you is that you get a clear sense of where you are in your project, where you need to go, and how to get there. You’ll probably gain a new understanding of what you want to write as we talk. Skype sessions are excellent for writers who are struggling to articulate analysis. Often you’re already there; you just don’t realize it. Talking through your project often reveals the bones of an analysis and I can help you put flesh on those bones.
If you’re stuck, you’ll end the session with a clear plan for getting unstuck. After each session, I send you notes from our conversation and a game plan for the next steps in your writing project.
I spend up to an hour with the text you send me before we talk. The session lasts an hour.
Skype sessions cost $75 an hour, payable at the time.
In a developmental editing project, I may work with you in a way that separates distinct writing skills. Research shows that focusing on one or two skills at a time improves a writer’s ability to generate higher-quality text because the working memory isn’t overburdened by a need to attend to many cognitive tasks simultaneously. Focusing on individual skills also improves how much you’ll learn about them.
So we might go through one round of editing to focus on the organization of the text. A second round might focus on word order, verb tense, and vocabulary. Another round might focus on places where documentation is needed to support your points. One round might zero in on ways to make your analysis more consistent and robust.
The advantages of working this way are several. You won’t get overwhelmed by requests that tap into many different writing skills all at once. Because you’ll be focusing on one or two skills at a time, you’ll pick up knowledge about a particular writing skill more quickly. And as your writing skills deepen, you’ll become a more confident and self-reliant writer. Over the long run, learning the verbal skills you weren’t taught in secondary school will save you money on editing costs.
I know from my time as an academic that deadlines for writing can be fairly virtual. Other professional obligations have hard deadlines with much more immediate rewards and consequences. And I know how difficult it is to juggle all the responsibilities of academic life and have a personal life. I get it.
That’s why I suggest that when you think of deadlines with me, you automatically add a week to the date you’re thinking of. No matter how determined you are to meet your ideal deadline, life will intrude.
From my perspective as a freelancer, having a deadline that I’m pretty sure I can count on helps me manage workflow. I’ll set aside time to do your work and if it doesn’t arrive when I’m expecting it, that causes problems in my schedule. I’ll need to slot another project in the space I saved for you and I might not be finished with it when your files arrive. That would lengthen the turnaround time for your work, which is already later than you’d hoped it would be. All of this gets even more complicated when you also have a deadline with a publisher or a journal.
The timeline for your project will depend largely on the time you have to review and process edited files. A typical turnaround time for a chapter or article is one week. For an entire manuscript, it’s typically a month. But you may need more time depending on where you are in the semester or what other obligations you have. We can negotiate about the time frame for our work together.
So think of the date that you hope you’ll get a file to me, then add a week. You’ll be calmer and I’ll be happier.
Estimates and Invoicing
As soon as we have a contract, let me know what method you’ll be using for payment. If my invoice will go through your university’s business office, there will be paperwork I’ll need to do to get in your school’s system.
When I work on longer projects with clients, I invoice in increments of $500. This does two things: it protects my cash flow, and my need for a single paycheck that covers everything isn’t an intervening factor in our work together. We can work at the pace you need.
Once we have a signed contract, I’ll evaluate your files carefully to determine the level of editing you’ll need. I’ll give you a report that will outline the types of editing your work needs and an estimate that will be a range. My rate for your project will depend on the level of editing you’ll need. I know how hard you work for your money and I work as efficiently as possible to keep your costs down.
I accept payment by check, bank transfer, and Paypal.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.