Reviewing the first half of a whirlwind 2020

decorative image of an august calendar with mobile phones and pens scattered on top

It’s already August and what a mad year 2020 has been so far! Despite some personal upheavals, professionally, it’s been an engaging few months. It’s time for a little taking stock.

Despite the madness of this year and living in a state of limbo since March (we’ve temporarily moved back to our family base in Bangkok and don’t know when we’ll be able to return to Singapore), I’ve been keeping busy and am grateful for it all.

Today, I need to pause and take stock of what I’ve done—for both work and professional development—this year so far.

Editing work

☘ Started working at the Energy Studies Institute, National University of Singapore

I officially started in May as an editor for the National University of Singapore Energy Studies Institute’s Nuclear Governance Project and will be editing three major reports to the Singaporean government.

Just recently, I received a rough table of contents for the three reports and realized that this will be the equivalent of editing three books. Quite exciting 🙂

All the work is being done remotely at the moment so I’m looking forward to actually meeting my colleagues, the authors, one of these days.

☘ Continuing copyediting for VoxEU.org (many COVID-19 articles!)

This month, I’m celebrating two years working as a copyeditor for VoxEU.org 🙂 I’ve truly appreciated the chance I was given to join their team.

The economists writing for VoxEU.org have been busy since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic! It’s been extra interesting to read these timely articles that explore how our world is changing because of the pandemic.

Back in late March when everything seemed dire, I gained hope from reading the ideas scholars were proposing on what policymakers could do to ease people’s losses of livelihood and wellbeing.

Cover of ebook entitled COVID-19 and trade policy: why turning inward won't work, edited by Richard E Baldwin and Simon J Evernett

The solutions-oriented tilt of the articles (even if I didn’t necessarily agree with the proposals) helped me out of feelings of helplessness by making me think that it was still possible for humans to make things better.

I also copyedited (chapters of) one of the many ebooks on economics and COVID-19 that the Centre for Economic Policy Research (VoxEU.org’s parent organization) published. The particular one I worked on was mentioned on FT.com (“The dangerous war on supply chains” by Martin Wolf, FT.com, 23 June 2020).

☘ Volunteer editing and writing

The murder of George Floyd sparked a discussion on privilege in my circles. I’ve been working with Families in Global Transition and others I’ve met through the organization (most notably Dr. Danau Tanu, author of Growing Up in Transit: The Politics of Belonging at an International School) to write about some of the great discussions that have been going on (including one that wasn’t related to privilege).

Cover of the “TCKs of Asia on Privilege and Diversity” blog article

Learning and professional development

Being under (soft) lockdown didn’t at all give me more free time to dedicate to online learning. Managing the kids’ homeschooling and finding quiet time and space to concentrate on work was a big challenge! But I did manage to up my skills.

☘ EndNote

I last worked with EndNote…maybe 20 years ago? And dabbled with Mendeley maybe 10 years ago.

So now, for the Energy Studies Institute, I’ve been doing a lot of self-directed learning starting from the basics to importing references and working in Word. (If you’re an editor working with an author who uses EndNote, you may find this free mini-course by Cadman Training helpful.)

My latest achievement was to create an in-house output style, of which I’m proud. This should help keep references formatting consistent and reduce errors.

☘ Webinars with ACES

Screenshot of ACES The Society for Editing's online training offerings.
ACES has launched their ACES Academy.

ACES: The Society for Editing was offering free access to their webinars in response to COVID-19, so I gratefully took advantage of their offer. I still have a few more to go through, but here are ones that I’ve completed:

  • The Basics of Readability
  • Bricklaying: Editing for Structure
  • Developing a Quality Editorial Process End-to-End
  • Editing Translations
  • Mastering Numbers

Still on my to-watch list: “Inclusive Language,” “Verification Fundamentals,” and “Editing in a Multilingual World.”

☘ Course on “Editing with the Chicago Manual of Style”

screenshot of Chicago Manual of Style online

Last week, I started the online course on “Editing with the Chicago Manual of Style” with the Editorial Freelancers Association.

It’s teaching me the finer points of the Chicago style. I expect it will allow me to better serve clients who specifically require this style.

Four modules down, 11 more to go!

☘ Running a webinar on editing for an international audience

Images of PowerPoint slides from editing webinar
Some slides from the webinar

In June, I held my first-ever editing webinar! I used to be a trainer and also designed training sessions in a past life so this was fun to put together and conduct, even though it was virtual.

It also had a nice reunion-like feel as I got to reconnect with a lovely, small group of former colleagues.

This seminar was easy to understand for beginners, but it covered many topics and gave me the essence of editing and writing in English.— Feedback from a participant

I enjoy doing these so hopefully will find other opportunities in the future 🙂


I haven’t planned at all what I want to get done for the remainder of the year, but with the continued uncertainty in the world, I’ll take it one step at a time.

Take care, all!

If you would like to discuss whether we might be a good fit for your academic writing project, please send me details via the contact form or email me at info@theclarityeditor.com.

Image by marijana1 from Pixabay.

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