Resources for Entry-Level Freelance Writers and Editors
CONTENTS OF THIS PAGE
1. Helpful online resources for writers and editors, categorized and current
2. Links to the most current versions of the style guides
3. Crucial terminology for beginning freelance writers to know
Helpful online resources for writers and editors, categorized and current
Grammarcheck You can use this in combination with your word processing software to check for grammar errors and passive voice (you want to use active voice unless your client specifies otherwise). Grammarcheck is nice for shorter pieces, because you must cut and paste it into the box on the website.
Hemingway Editor After checking for grammar errors, use this to double check for errors with passive voice. It also helps you to reduce the reading level by suggesting shorter words and identifying wordy sentences. Most online articles are written at about a fourth grade reading level. This editor is also nice to use for shorter pieces, because you must cut and paste.
Title Capitalization Tool You’ll need to write titles for many of the pieces you write, including portfolio samples. These titles will be the first things that clients see, and it’s wise to make those first things as perfect as possible.
Consistency Checker This incredibly time saving free tool can be added to either MS Word or to Google Docs. It's great for long documents, and checks for inconsistencies in hyphenation, numbered sequences, spelling variations (similar spellings, for example if you accidentally used both the US and UK spellings for color/colour), typos, and abbreviations in more than one form. It doesn't check grammar. Note: It has only a 3 out of 5 rating, based on user experiences. Ignore that! The users who rated it poorly seem to think it's a tool for checking spelling or grammar.
Links to the most current versions of the style guides
Each profession uses a particular style guide for standardization (so that, for example, all of their references are listed in the same format). You might have a client that wants you to adhere to one of the style guides. A few examples are the Chicago Manual of Style, the Business Style Handbook, the Associated Press Stylebook, and the American Psychological Association style guide. If your client wants you to use one of these, you must be familiar with it. You'll need to either find a free trial for one online, find a recent edition in a library, or purchase one for yourself. Make sure that you're using the most recent edition. Earlier in this paragraph, I linked to the most current versions of the most popular styles guides. You can find a list of dozens of other style guides here at Wikipedia (they may not all be up to date).
Crucial terminology for beginning freelance writers to know. Note: You can search online and find lists like this for writers, and I encourage you to do that. This list is somewhat specific to terminology that you'll find in job descriptions at Upwork.
Terminology for Writers
Content: This is the written material that you produce.
Copyscape: Copyscape is a tool that's used by writing companies to ensure that their writers aren't plagiarizing existing content. In job descriptions, employers will write that your work must "pass copyscape." If you've been asked to write about a topic, and you use existing content as source material, you can use the free copyscape checker here to make sure that you aren't plagiarizing.
Keyword Optimization: The art or science (depending on who you talk to) of using words in the title, headings, and body of an article in order to draw traffic to an online article or website. Strategies for doing this change frequently. It's too difficult to explain here, so until I write a post about this, please refer to this description. It is the best, most up-to-date, and clearest description I could find.
Terminology for Editors
Proofreading: Correcting a print-ready document from the publisher. Some clients on Upwork will use the word "proofread" to mean "light editing." I've found that sometimes, proofreading turns into copyediting.
Copyediting: Correcting an author's manuscript. There are four main types (described below).
Technical editing- Spelling, subject-verb agreement, verb tense, commas, em-dashes and en-dashes, dangling or misplaced modifiers, pronoun-antecedent agreement, poor word usage, split or fused sentences, sentence fragments, faulty attempts at parallel construction, mistakes in tables and charts, incorrect dates, and missing or repeated words.
Style editing- Standardizing a text according to a manual of style, such as the Chicago Manual of Style (for most academic texts), the American Psychological Association (mostly for the social sciences), the Modern Language Association Style Manual (mostly for literary criticism), and the Associated Press Stylebook (for newspapers). There is no right or wrong way to format some things like abbreviations, acronyms, compound words, documentation, and serial commas, but these style manuals standardize them per the profession.
Correlation editing- Checking all of the parts of the manuscript against each other. Checking cross-references in the text and in figures, checking all citations in the text with those in the references, and all titles and authors with those in the table of contents.
Substantive/Content editing- Improving clarity, structure and organization. This includes doing more research to add proofs for arguments.
(the copy editor is also responsible for reminding the author to get permissions where needed)