Weeknote 4: Sharing the love

Heart Unions logo

It’s HeartUnions Week – a TUC campaign to raise awareness of the value of unions – and my union, the NUJ, is taking part. So I had a think about why I love my union.

So what has my union done for me? Read more ›

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Posted in Freelancing

Weeknote 3: Websites and wish lists

Two books: Neurotribes by Steve Silberman, and Transciption by Kate Atkinson.

This week’s reading

OK, I said last week that I don’t watch daytime television. But I do sometimes watch Pointless. Does that count if it’s on after 5pm?

And I often wonder, how I would answer Alexander Armstrong’s question to contestants: ‘And what do you do in your spare time?’ The answer would probably be: the same as what I do for work. Read more ›

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Posted in Websites

Weeknote 2: Admin and sadmin

Job advert that says "Identifying sales opportunities to introduce complimentary products".

Photo of the week: Seen in a recruitment agency window. I don’t think they meant ‘complimentary’.

I had someone round this week to measure up for a new kitchen, and when I mentioned I work from home, he said something that I hear a lot: ‘I couldn’t do that – I’d be watching TV all day.’ I always find this funny, because daytime TV is not something that ever tempts me. I’d soon be skint if it was, and I’d rather be on Twitter anyway. Read more ›

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Posted in Freelancing

A weeknote about weeknotes

A statue of a bull, with a knitted scarf around its neck.

Photo of the week. This bit of yarn-bombing made me laugh when I came out of Oxford station on Wednesday, on my way to a client meeting at the university.

Most people look forward to Fridays because it’s the end of the working week. That doesn’t always apply when you’re self-employed, but there are some things I like about Friday.

Read more ›

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Style guides for the 21st century (part 2): A universal style guide?

A food menu, with prices shown as 8, 9 and 8 (with no pound sign).

Apparently, there’s a reason for this.

Last month, I found myself in a second-hand bookshop looking for some holiday reading. I think I actually squealed with excitement when I saw a copy of Steven Pinker’s recent book The Sense of Style. At this point I realised I am actually a geek.

The blurb says that the author ‘rethinks usage for the twenty-first century’. In his prologue, Pinker says ‘A manual for the new millennium cannot just perpetuate the diktats of earlier manuals’: in other words, people expect reasons for any advice. Pinker is a psycholinguist and cognitive scientist so his observations are underpinned by what he calls ‘an understanding of grammatical phenomena’ and ‘research on the mental dynamics of reading’.

And he is not the only person rethinking style guides for the twenty-first century, and using research to do so. Read more ›

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Posted in Editing, Writing