The Clarity Editor annual report 2021

The Clarity Editor annual report 2021

…Aaaaaand in a blink of an eye, 2021 is drawing to a close! My heartfelt gratitude to everyone in my life this whirlwind year 🙂 To wrap up, here’s my annual report with some plans for the coming year.

Even freelancers should compile an annual report. It’s nice to stake stock, reflect back and plan (and dream) forward.

[In this report…]

[A Canva slide show is embedded below with highlights of my report. The full text, however, is in the body of this post.]

The Clarity Editor Annual Report 2021

Editor, writer, trainer.

Those words describe my professional self. But in 2021, I was also remote-school teacher, administrator, IT support, enforcer & cheerleader. Not to mention wife and friend.

The long lockdown in Thailand meant I had to swap those roles often, even every few minutes, all day every day for over 6 months. It was exhausting.

This relentless laboring made me decide one thing: I have stopped saying I’m a part-time worker. I’m full time.

Despite being utterly drained at times, I also enjoyed fulfilling moments and am proud of having done all that I did. I’m deeply grateful for all the people who have made me this gift of an exciting, interesting & fruitful year!

May 2022 be a healthy and fulfilling one for all.

—Ema Naito, The Clarity Editor

☘ Editing

Isn’t it great that we’re all so different? Some people hate editing, whereas I enjoy it so much!

Thank you for entrusting me with your written words. Your confidence and our relationship mean the world to me.

Map of the world. I'm in Thailand; I have clients in Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, and the UK. My collaborators are in Australia, Japan, Korea, the UK and the US.
I love working with clients and collaborators (people I regularly work with; may or may not involve editing) from all over. (Hmm, anyone in the Latin American and African regions want to work with me?)
I edited over 402,000 words, served 13 clients at last count (organizations count as one), edited over 660 hours (those hours will go towards my CIEP professional membership upgrade), and designed and ran 3 online trainings.
In numbers: I edited over 402,000 words, served 13 clients at last count, edited over 660 hours, and designed and ran 3 online trainings.

I am proud to serve my regular/repeat clients (new clients marked with *).

International development

UNITAR Division for Prosperity. Love my colleagues! Am finding my passion for spreading plain language.

SIAP SIAGA project (with Palladium)*


Energy Studies Institute, National University of Singapore. Three new reports for the final year of the nuclear governance project.

TASC Platform, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and Centre for Economic Policy Research. Three years and counting 🙂 Got to copy edit a World Bank & CEPR ebook on international trade.

Private sector

Athru Communications.* Review their client’s website through an inclusion lens.

J-CLINIC. Applying plain language in healthcare-related website.

X-ZELL. Applying plain(er) language on medtech company website (disclosure: husband’s company).

I also appreciate very much the one-time clients that come my way through word of mouth or platforms like Lancers.

☘ Writing

It’s incredibly humbling to get on the other side and be the writer! I enjoy the challenge, though, and appreciate more than ever the power of thoughtful and kind feedback.

Chartered Institute for Editing and Proofreading (CIEP)

First ever: I got professionally copyedited. The invisible copyeditor tightened my writing and I couldn’t even tell what they had done. It was my voice but better!

Families in Global Transition (FIGT)

Learned about: Diversity & accessibility—not because FIGT knows all about it but because my colleagues are also exploring.

☘ Learning and professional development

As with 2020 (and perhaps even more so), the school closures for much of the year kept my mental load to the max with managing the kids’ online schooling while eking out work time. Doing formal online courses amidst that was impossible, so I looked for more time-flexible ways to learn and develop.

☑ Conferences

Conferences are boring? Not these ones! I met amazing colleagues and came out energized and with new ideas and skills.

Access for All: Clear Language Is a Civil Right, organized by the Clarity, Center for Plain Language, and Plain Language Association International

Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) 2021. A personal highlight was giving a lightning talk about the power of English language editors (thanks to Ben Dare who summed them up beautifully). I am also proud that introvert-me attended networking sessions and enjoyed those too (some tidbits I collected). You can read more about the conference sessions on the CIEP blog.

Screenshot from my lightning talk. Slide is of a drawing of a woman holding a present with UK and US flags, surrounded by the words: Jobs, education, respect, information, authority.
A screenshot from my CIEP2021 lightning talk.

Clear Writing for Europe 2021, organized by the European Commission. In a networking session, I met some United Nations colleagues in Geneva and New York, and we’ve started an informal community of practice that I hope will help us spread more clear language in the international organizations.

Families in Global Transition 2021: Embracing and Bridging Differences

☑ Editing-related training

This year, I didn’t have the mind space to enroll in formal courses but here are three that I did complete.

“Editing with the Chicago Manual of Style” course: I finally completed the course, which I started in 2020! With the Editorial Freelancers Association.

Mini-courses with Hilary Cadman: Hilary generously ran free mini-courses this year on screencasting and on creating online training courses. Both were great.

☑ Reading

Apart from formal trainings, I learn so much from books, blogs, articles, social media posts, etc. (and the occasional podcast).

Major topics

  • plain language
  • inclusive language
  • web accessibility
  • basics of design
  • effective social media
  • copyediting
  • non-fiction writing and revising

Among the books I read, here are my favorites!

On editing

  • Amy Einsohn and Marilyn Schwartz. The Copyeditor’s Handbook and The Copyeditor’s Workbook. 2019. Still working on these 🙂

On plain language

On design

  • Robin Williams. The Non-designer’s Design Book. 2015. I love this book (my review).
  • Petra Černe Oven and Cvetka Požar, eds. On Information Design. 2016. An excellent introduction to what information design is and how it helps effective communication. Includes a chapter by Rob Waller, “Transformational Information Design.”

On presenting

  • Jonathan Schwabisch. Better Presentations. 2016. Top-notch advice on making powerful presentation slides.
  • Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads on Public Speaking and Presenting. 2020.

Plus my favorite fun read: The Weight of Ink, by Rachel Kadish.

☘ Hopes for 2022

The top three things I hope to do in 2022

(1) Power up as an editor: Give kind, relevant & clear feedback, brush up on grammar, and practice plain language. Respond to the needs of my clients. 
(2) Get more international development colleagues to write clearly. Advocate for clear writing, connect staff to available resources, and give more hands-on writing support.
(3) Create more resources
for you. Blog and expand the tips and guides library, create some videos, and offer new (free) ways to help you practice clearer writing.

That’s a wrap! May 2022 be a healthy and fulfilling one for you and yours. I look forward to being of service to you again 🙂

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

Cover image by David Mark from Pixabay

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