Sack that client


A necessary thing to do if you want to stay sane

Originally posted on Write Edit Index:

JennyMosherJenny Mosher’s session on ‘Sack that client’ was illuminating. When you run your own business, it’s vital that you look after yourself. One of the more difficult aspects of our business to control is the people we work for — our clients.

“The customer is always right” is utter rubbish. A bad client can make us lose sleep, dread phone calls and email, take up thinking time and energy, distract us from our businesses, and more.

Jenny encouraged us to list our Top Ten “Ideal Client” qualities — these might include such things as the client valuing our work, paying on time, being respectful, emailling rather than phoning us, being nice people, having a sense of humour, providing interesting work — and so on.

Come up with your own list of ‘Top Ten Qualities’, depending on what’s important to you. Then classify your clients according to how many of these Top Ten qualities…

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In appreciation of editors….

I’ve had a productive, but very frustrating day.  I’m working on a large project (about 1500 pages)–an encyclopedia. Generally it’s fairly straight-forward–stem cell research, so it’s interesting; the headings within the articles are pretty descriptive, so generally, not bad to index.  Many of the articles are two or three pages–so we are dealing with a lot of titles.

The only thing really “picky” about this index is the typographical conventions that the publisher wants: all article titles appear as main headings, inn bold typeface, with locators in bold typeface. That’s all very straight-forward too, but…. There

cat with paw on chair
What’s up?

is a fair amount of variability in punctuation used withing the article titles–sometimes colons, sometimes commas. The editor in me wants consistency–either commas or colons in all the similar titles.

My incredible frustration today has been with the number of typographical errors within the text–of the “University of California, David” (rather than Davis) ilk. Part of me says, I’m indexing, not editing, and would like to blow right past those, but I can’t so the list is growing.

My other major frustration is that many cross-references are needed–they’re given at the end of each article and some need to be included in the index entry.  My frustration comes in  that there is no real consistency in how the multiple authors cite the article titles to which they are referring (but I have to match them to article titles).  There is an indiscriminate use of colons and commas, irrespective of how the article title might be punctuated, which is variable, too. (Maybe it’s my aging brain, but I keep having to go back to check on this–somehow can’t seem to remember for sure was this particular one a comma or a colon.  (Software is good on autocomplete, but not a miracle worker.)

My other frustration is acronyms: I’m sure this is partly a reflection of the state of stem cell research, but I’ve found at least three different meanings for the same acronym! And multiple different initialisms/acronyms used for the same term/phrase. (I don’t envy the reader on these.)  The publisher wants acronyms and initialisms included in the index, too.

Okay, that’s my rant for the day.  Despite these frustrations, I am a happy indexer.  Good, thorough editors make me happy too!


cat on computer
Enough? Quit now?

Frankie has assiduously supervised this entire day of work. I think he understands that the cursing was not directed at him personally. He’s very patient mostly lying on the back of my chair, or sitting beside my chair until the clock hits 17:30 or 18:00. Then he gets assertive about interfering with work.

This is not a matter of empty food bowl, or that sort of thing. I think it’s totally attention-getting.  Good break-timing software!

Maintaining healthy habits while working from home


One of the big issues of working from home! Another for me is arranging meals when I’m in the midst of a big project with a fast-approaching deadline.

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

Working from home is great, isn’t it?

You can roll out of bed, get to your desk and work in your pajamas or yoga pants without any stress or strain. Heck, you could even skip brushing your teeth, showering, or eating breakfast if you wanted.

And sleeping in? Well, without any commute or the need to get up and get ready for work, you’ve at least gained an hour every morning from the past daily commuter traffic drama, haven’t you?

Working from home is convenient. And for some, myself included, maybe too convenient at times.

It’s so easy to wake up and walk a few steps to the office chair — and sit… for hours, easily absorbed by our work and not being interrupted.


With no one to tell us how we look, it’s easy to even stop worrying about appearance. We can work longer hours when we work from…

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Working from home

While I was getting ready for work this morning (getting an adequate amount of caffeine), I was trolling through my email (part of the caffeination process here)  and found Christine Hoskin‘s discussion on the pros and cons of self-employment.  If you think working from home is for you, take the time to read this–it’s a realistic presentation of both sides of the work-from-home scenario–a thought-provoking post.

Working from home is attractive, but can you really do it?  It’s  important to have assessed yourself  carefully for ability to work this way–how do you react to three days with only the cat for company?  (Discussing that plan with a friend who knows you well can help if you’ve never taken an online class or been a telecommuter.) Can you  control that tendency to be distracted from your work by the glimpse of a dust bunny lurking in the corner? Can you manage so that you  get your work hours in?

I have to cultivate a mindset that says “work”!  So even though it’s an extremely short commute , I get ready by doing the usual things you’d do before starting a commute: drink coffee, brush teeth, take shower, drink coffee, get dressed, etc. The good part is that getting dressed can be putting on a fresh pair of sweats if you want, and caffeine is readily available, but I’ve got a “work” attitude.

Can you put you work aside when you’ve achieved you goal for the drink-before-you-think-mug-4033453_1_8f8f1c6a-b9ae-4f55-b5e2-6d95d53001a3_large[1]day?  That is equally important as being able to get a reasonable day’s work in. One of the most difficult things for me was to learn not to try to work 24/7! You can’t be really productive and creative if you have a raging case of burn-out.  True, there are times when you’re faced with a deadline that you HAVE to do 24/7.  But when that’s over, take a day off.  Learn to pay attention to your mental as well as physical needs.

I’m definitely an introvert, but I find that I need to make myself check out the world outside my home once in a while–I need to plan activities with friends periodically.  That trip to the grocery store where you really don’t interact with anyone but the checkout person really doesn’t qualify. As an introvert, I think my social life has benefited from self-employment/working from  home–I have more control over when I interact with people. The stress of enforced interaction (e.g. course lectures) has been removed.

I love Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Twitter (need to learn more about using that one)  for providing interaction with friends (indexers and otherwise), but I think it’s important to have face-to-face interactions too.

Virtual interaction with others works so much better if you have had face-to-face contact, so attending professional meetings is important. I’m looking forward to this year’s ASI conference in Seattle WA where I’ll get to refresh face-to-face contacts that are maintained  by email and social media between times. Register for that conference!

Once you think you’ve enough work scheduled to make the jump from part-time to full-time indexing, it can be almost frightening to hand in that resignation letter–but it feels great when you’ve taken that leap of faith.  Then someone cancels a job, and you’re chewing you fingernails for a bit.  Then you get an unexpected repeat job from a client and you can relax again–you have to tolerate the uncertainty and that can be hard.

Another thing you have to remember is that you’re it–no one to CYA.  You do everything associated with your business–dust the computer, empty the trash, keep up  hardware, update software, marketing, etc. You can’t let those things slide either.  If you don’t take care of those as well as writing those indexes, you’ll lose the good parts of working from home!

Now, back to indexing!

Marketing is all about building relationships


Some good tips for client relationships!

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

You have a business and you want it to grow, so you know you have to make contacts and turn them into connections that lead to business growth. But thinking about the effort as ‘sales’ and ‘selling’ intimidates many, so try to think about it as relationship building.

Nurturing prospects and clients is important to retaining business – and retaining and building your business is your goal, right?

Here are some tactics you can try. Give any or all of them a shot to find what feels best for you and works best for your business.

Offer a perk to a returning client to make her feel special. Perhaps a discount on new work; a discount once a year to see if that encourages clients to hire you for new work. Perks don’t have to be discounts, you could offer a free marketing report for their area of expertise.

Keep in touch

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How to Read a Book?


…and for indexing?


If you are reading this post, then you are certain about the importance of ‘reading’.

To acquire knowledge with aim of increasing one’s understanding, is reading enough? The answer is yes, but the question remains, how?

We need to think about how we read and Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book is a perfect place to start with. Published in 1940, it immediately became a bestseller, and since that time the book has been updated many times, famously and notably by Charles van Doren in the 1970’s.

Most of the times, we think reading is something that you can do or you cannot – that is you can either read or not. The truth, however, is that reading is a skill that can be improved with knowledge and practice.

The goal of reading determines how you read. If you’re reading for entertainment, you’re going to read a lot differently and…

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It’s a challenge to be your own boss


Great post. Things we need to be conscious of as freelancers/sole proprietors.

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

Being your own boss is thrilling, isn’t it? It’s nice to not have someone to report to every day. You don’t have to deal with someone hassling you if you don’t show up or if you spend all your time chasing dust bunnies, shiny objects, or killing time on Snapchat or Facebook.

Of course you want to impress your clients, but they come and go and care about what you can do for them, not necessarily about your personal success.

There’s a lot of freedom (insert Mel Gibson’s scream from “Braveheart”) in working for yourself. Maybe too much at times.

To be successful and keep your business on track, you need to think like a boss. What do I mean? Here are a few tips.

  • Determine and write down your goals
    • Yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals will help you achieve the success you want. Written goals keep you…

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Thoughts applicable to freelance work-from-home–with the only supervision being the cat!

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

I’m in the middle of a project requiring consistent action on my part. I broke down the project into smaller parts, made a check-list of each of the different tasks involved, and started taking tiny steps forward, sometimes doing only one thing that required a few minutes in a day.

I’m at the point now where I have a daily goal to accomplish in order to complete the entire project on time. Each day I mark down where I need to be at the end of the day to stay on task and I try to do a little more than is required in order to stay ahead of the deadline. So far, I’m more than meeting my daily goals and expect to finish in plenty of time.

While I’m totally excited about the project, it has nothing to do with writing. (I’d tell you what it is, but it’s…

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…and another food spot in Charleston

I’ve had another recommendation for a place to have seafood while in Charleston:  Hyman’s Seafood. Great looking menu and not expensive.  This recommendation comes from a good friend who does know how picky I can be about the quality of my food–especially my seafood.  Menu looks interesting, and there is a specific gluten-free menu posted on the website.

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