Whether you work in a home office or one filled with coworkers, chances are that few other people know exactly what you’re working on and what has to be done. Most of the information is on the tip of your tongue, not written down. Would your coworkers know where to pick up the project to continue your work, or even what projects you are prioritizing? If you are not around coworkers daily, how long would it take for someone to notice your absence? A missed deadline, perhaps? Unanswered emails?
It used to be that many, if not most, people took notes. In meetings. When reading. Creating lists and reminders. They’re a handy way to keep things top-of-mind, for sure.
But new technology is always seductive, isn’t it? And now we can dictate notes to our computers and smartphones, we have apps that remind us of everything from our doctor’s appointment to client deadlines, and I even was recently in the company of a writer who—gasp!—couldn’t find a single pen in her purse.
A regular Copyediting reader outlined the following situation to me:
She’s been editing a client’s periodical for years. Recently, the publisher’s policy has changed to allow writers more freedom and to ignore house style and common sense. The result is a publication that no longer looks professional.
Too many self-employed copyeditors present themselves as not having much power in freelancer-client relationships. Such an image doesn’t help them win lucrative projects or pull in livable incomes. Confidence is as vital to success as good skills are.