A roundup of a solid year with over 500 hours of editing. I’m thankful for what I can contribute to this world. May you all have a healthy, safe, and fulfilling 2024!
It’s my custom to compile a freelancer’s annual report to stake stock, reflect back and plan (and dream) forward.
[A Canva slide show is embedded below with highlights of my report. The full text follows in the body of this post.]Annual Report 2023 by Ema Naito
A solid year
My motto for this year was “simplify.” Did I achieve it? To be honest, I’m not sure.
Some things are better.
- more standard operating procedures (SOPs) and checklists in place. That means
- each editing project gets the best, consistent treatment
- details of each project are not lost, even weeks later
- there is less room for error and duplication
- less pressure to be on social media: if I can’t post for a week or two, I’m not going to worry about it (inspired by the Social Slowdown, by Meg Casebolt)
Overall, I feel more in control of my work life than I did last year.
Some things still need work.
My administrative processes could be better streamlined still. I try to automate what I can but may need to invest in some help.
I want to become better at editing to a client’s budget so I can support interesting clients and projects, even if their budget or time doesn’t allow for a full edit.
Motto for next year: Keep simplifying!
My motto for 2024 remains the same as last year: keep simplifying!
That means getting more systems into place and having clearer a purpose for social media. It also means listening to the wisdom of my older self on what I want to spend my time on.
Thank you for letting me be a part of your 2023. And best wishes for a healthy, safe, and fruitful 2024!
—Ema Naito, The Clarity Editor
p.s. Quiz: What is my editing superpower? That was a fantastic question asked on a Facebook group. My answer is hidden somewhere on this page 🕵️♀️ (What is your superpower?)
Thank you for entrusting me with your written words. Your confidence and our relationship mean the world to me.
Regular and repeat clients
I am proud to serve my regular/repeat clients. (Disclaimer: mentioning them here does not mean they endorse me.)
UNITAR Division for Prosperity. The smartest, most open-minded, and supportive team to work with!
VoxEU.org and Centre for Economic Policy Research. Five years and counting 🙂
Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research.
Individual scholars. Book chapters on social protection and communication in social work. A teaching primer on human geography.
A Japanese clinic. Applied plain language principles in communicating about health.
A global diversity, equity and inclusion consulting firm. Reviewed website language for clarity. Edited a DEI training manual for a healthcare organization.
Trainings & talks given
- Podcast guest appearance: A Quick Dip into plain language
- CIEP Cloud East: a 10-minute macro demo for my fellow editors; brief summaries of 1-2 CIEP2023 sessions
- Clear writing for UNITAR: 1-hour webinar for staff on how to write clearly for a UN organization. (Related: why clear writing is important for development professionals and how to apply plain language principles in the UN and other human rights organizations)
- Writing great link text (for usability and accessibility): UNITAR internal training (see my recommended resources on good alt text)
Learning and professional development
Continuing professional development is essential to make sure we editors keep our skills and understanding up to date. (Plus, it’s fun!)
CIEP continues to run hybrid conferences—yay for access!
Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) 2023. Sessions on non-fiction editing, Word styles, AI and editing, and business management and taxation.
Clear writing for EU 2023. Key lesson: plain language is deeply linked to democratic governance.
(I’m also waiting for the recordings from the Accessible Publishing Conference 2023.)
- Working with “English as a foreign language” authors (Katharine O’Moore-Klopf)
- What science says about brain’s reading (Cheryl Stephens, Editors Canada)
- How to write a plain language summary (Karger)
- Introduction to PDF accessibility (Adobe Accessibility Series)
- Boosting productivity with Word styles (Cadman Training)
- Anti-hustle marketing and business development for freelancers (Letitia Henville, ACES)
A shoutout to the CIEP Cloud East group for the great camaraderie and sharing. Thanks especially to the coordinators academic editor Sarah Kitaoji and fantasy fiction editor Joanne Taylor for keeping the monthly sessions fun as well as useful.
🔑What is my editing superpower? Answer: Finding ways to improve the logical flow of sentences and paragraphs. Understanding what the writer wants to say. (I loved what others shared in the Facebook thread too—we are all different! What is your superpower?)
Yay for books, blogs, articles, social media posts, and the occasional podcast.
My reading was about
- plain language
- digital accessibility
- basics of design
My favorite book this year related to clear writing:
(Book title links are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on an Amazon link and buy the book, you will be contributing to my coffee fund at no extra cost to you—thank you!)
- Joseph E. Williams, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. Williams breaks down what actually makes a text “clear”. I got the 11th edition but just get whatever edition is most affordable! Also see Williams’s main points summarized by Omar Hussein (Graduate Writing Specialist, CSULB Graduate Center).
- The Covenant of Water (Abraham Verghese): simply stunning—poetry in prose form.
- The Dictionary of Lost Words (Pip Williams): great for those who work with words.
- Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Gabrielle Zevin): beautiful writing; plus it took me back to my life in Boston as a young Asian (although not quite American) in the 1990s 😁
Goals for next year: learn how to edit more efficiently, practice remediating PDFs and making EPUBs, improve the accessibility of my website, brush up on grammar, and apply to CIEP Professional level.
I’m humbled to have some amazing women solopreneurs to learn from and bounce ideas off of. I’m especially grateful to Sarah Black for bringing us together (and for inviting me to interesting DEI-related projects!).
The fab team:
- Sarah Black, inclusive communications strategist, Athru Communications
- Cath Brew, global LGBTQ+ consultant and coach, Drawn to a Story
- Trisha Carter, cross-cultural coach, TransCultural Careers
- Janine Christie, Your Voice and Copy Kickstarter
- Jane Ordaz Stubbs, The Virtual Wingwoman
- Petra Trudell, writer and editor
Wishlist of an editor
Last year, I wished for some stuff. So did my wishes come true? Here’s the update!
An inexpensive subscription to an online Brian Garner’s Modern English Usage
No. Still no such thing. I refer to the 4th print edition and Fowler’s Modern English Usage via Oxford Dictionaries Pro.
An elegant chair that looks 18th century but has a firm seat and proper lumbar support. And maybe massage function?
No. I still dream about this. But my aunt gave me a back massager to attach to the chair, which relieves me from a ton of pain.
A split mechanical keyboard. With tilt. And programmable keys.
Yes, and I love it! (No tilt yet.) I also got a joystick-shaped mouse and pedals!
A safe Twitter whose use isn’t a moral issue.
Yes/no. I’ve abandoned Twitter and am enjoying the growing editor community on BlueSky 🥰
I can’t think of what to wish for 2024, other than the ergonomic chair, plenty of interesting clients and projects, and good health. (Guess that’s more than enough!)
Hopes for 2024
The top three things I hope to do in 2024 … are exactly the same as what I hoped for 2023. Guess I’m consistent 😆
I failed to create videos and brush up on grammar. But I have a more concrete plan for my newsletter and some handouts to develop (maybe videos??), so we’ll see.
Above all, I have to keep SIMPLIFYING!
That’s a wrap! May 2024 be a healthy, safe, and fulfilling one for you and yours. I look forward to being of service to you again 🙂
Cover image by Ema Naito. The books I keep at my feet as I edit (I need a bookcase…).