Where have I been this time?

I explain—or maybe excuse—my recent absence with this explanation:

Over the past two years, four events have caused a distraction in my life: the death of my father, relocating from Orlando back to Raleigh, returning to more-than-full-time work at the state Museum of History, and disappointing a major client. Along the way, I’m afraid I also lost my motivation to write.

The shocking change

My father passed away unexpectedly during the holiday season two years ago. Like most—at least, I think most—fathers and sons, we had a sometimes-rocky relationship. But, my father did always support my freelance endeavors: first, Freelance Library Services; then, the evolution of that business into the-freelance-editor. His first gesture of support: buying me a hard-sided briefcase with gold latches and a lock, because the stack of folders and drafts that I carried to meetings was “not very professional looking”—yes, that was back in the days when writers and editors still carried around pounds and pounds of binder-clipped paperwork and accordion files instead of computers and flash drives; but, I digress (with a smile).

Years after I moved to Orlando, he decided to start wintering near Frostproof, about an hour away, and we visited frequently. Among other topics, he always asked about my business, and we bonded over discussions of writing, family history, the general business climate, and technology. More than he ever realized (and more than I realized at the time), he was an inspiration for many of my career dreams, as well as a motivation for my efforts. When he passed away, I missed that support more than I ever expected I would.


Moving on . . . my relocation in early 2013, was a pleasant experience but I still gave the change license to block my writing.

During my first experience at the museum, in the 1990s, I fell in love with the process of writing, researching, rewriting, and refining words and concepts—and with working in teams of subject specialists and experts, educators, readers and reviewers, and designers to create and package a product to be the best possible. While that passion was one of the many attractions that encouraged my return, over the years of my absence, budget cuts, staff losses, and poor management had come to impede that process. The remaining staff continues to turn out the best product it can, but the intensity of long hours and multiple frustrations and roadblocks along the way took its toll—and affected my after-hours creativity and drive.


Which leads directly into my final reason for disappearing. For the first time in my professional career, I failed a client. I entered the project with all the right intentions and I persisted with the project because of a passion that the author and I shared . . . but, then, I stayed with the project far longer than I should have because I didn’t want to renege on promises made and established, on the author’s dreams, and on my own expectations. In the end, I had to back out of the project because I came to realize I could not have met the project’s deadline—and I disappointed my client because I left him with few options and too little time to make alternate arrangements.

That was the final blow to my motivation and I’ve done nothing with my business since.


Now, however, I’m edging back to a revival—probably not a return to working with clients with large projects, yet (I’m still way too skittish for that), but at least a return to some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of running a business in this century. At least I’m getting to the point where I want to start again. And, that’s a good first step, I think . . .

Thanks for your support and, I hope, your understanding.


Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
e-mail: editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
text: 832-233-0041

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How can I help with a personal history?

My father and I have different talents when it comes to researching and recording family history:  he does genealogy;  I do personal history and family history.  In other words, in my mind, at least, he does the bones (or the branches and limbs of the family tree, to say it as he might prefer) and I do the meat and flesh (or the leaves and blooms)—I like to dig out and research and add in the stories.

Both parts are necessary steps and both parts are difficult. But here are the ways I can help with your personal history, your family history, or your business history:

I can assist you with

  • categorizing family notes and genealogical research;
  • organizing information into a logical flow and deciding what sidebars and types and pieces of artwork are appropriate;
  • planning and discussing objectives with appropriate parties;
  • applying consistent use of colloquialisms, regional speech patterns and vocabulary terms, and era-appropriate slang;
  • researching partial memories and questionable “stories” (as well as fact-checking where needed); and . . .

of course, getting your information into some sort of printable format, whether you decide to end up with a collection of stories on paper, a story that has more of a continuous run to it, or a script you can use later to create a video program or audio presentation.

Once we have your personal story or family story to this point, the difficult work is done!  And the options are many. At this point, for instance, you can decide to photocopy your manuscript, to seek out a small press or self-publisher, or to post your creation online.

If you decide to actually print the manuscript that we create, I can help you work with your print shop or publisher by

  • proofing for text alignment, word division, line breaks and page breaks, page citations, header and footer formatting, and general page appearance and
  • creating acknowledgments, tables of contents, indexes, and reference lists.

If you decide to go online, I can help you with that, as well—through posts to a private blog site or creation of a public website. 

You and your family decide, and I will help guide you through the variety of possiblilties . . .  Just think about what you might like and ask!


Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
e-mail: editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
text: 832-233-0041

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Technical decisions about blogging

Blogging is easy once you get started, but after you decide to start a blog and you have an idea about what you want it to do for you, you do need to make two decisions before you can start.  Don’t panic, though, or let the decisions intimidate you or scare you away!  Instead, let me, the-blog-editor, try to help you.  The two blogging decisions are

  1. What blogging “platform” will you use?
  2. How will you get your message out—via a free host or by arranging for a vendor to host your blog?

A blog platform: The first piece of the puzzle . . .

I’ve tried several blogging platforms, but I fully recommend using the open-source blogging platform that is discussed at  WordPress.org.  So, we’ll pretend that that decision has been made!

A blog host: The second piece of the puzzle . . .

The second decision is not as easy.  You can decide to host your new blog for free at WordPress.com  but the advantages of WordPress.com are limited, other than being free, that is.  Of course, it might very well suit your needs.  Really, the two biggest disadvantages of WordPress.com are

  1. that your website address URL will be, for example, www.anEditorsBlog.wordpress.com, and
  2. that you may have some advertising on your site and in your dashboard area.

Of course, you can always move your blog from the free hosting at WordPress.com to another host at any time; but the move means repeating much of the behind-the-scenes work that you would have already done with your free blog.

If you do opt to host your site away from  WordPress.com,  I can—from bad experiences in the past with other hosts—recommend  Hostgator  wholeheartedly.

Your “self-hosted” blog site

A domain name for your blog   Before you get that far, though, you have one more chore to tackle before you get started.  If you do choose to host your site away from the free WordPress site, you’ll need to purchase and register a domain name that you want to use.  (This will enable you to have a URL—the text that displays in the “address” line of your Internet browser—such as www.anEditorsBlog.com, for example, instead of www.anEditorsBlog.wordpress.com, if that’s important to you.) 

To purchase your own domain name, I recommend using GoDaddy.com—they may have lousy, shameful, sexist ads during the Super Bowl but they are the number one domain registrar for a reason: the website is user friendly, their support is very helpful, and the company is trustworthy.  You can follow this affiliate link, if you wish, to research and buy your domain name:

Go Daddy - The Worlds #1 Domain Registrar!

A host for your blog   Once you have your domain, you can get a hosting package at  Hostgator  and perform a relatively simple installation of WordPress on your new site.  This affiliate link will lead you to Hostgator:

WordPress Hosting by HostGator

Once you’ve done that, you are well over the technological hump!  You’ll soon be a fully functioning WordPress advocate!

A “theme” for your blog   One of the first acts you’ll then need to complete is choosing and installing a “theme” or “skin” for your blog—this theme (and you can experiment with more than one or change at any time) is the program that determines how information on your blog appears to visitors.  WordPress has a large variety of themes you can choose from (packaged inside the program); you can also find some fun themes (which they call “templates”) at  wordpresstemplates.com  as well as some great choices at Solostream, ElegantThemes, RocketThemes, or Simple Themes—my clients have used themes from all of these vendors over the years and have had good experiences.

For additional information, follow any of these affiliate links:

Premium WordPress Themes     WordPress Themes by ElegantThemes     WordPress Themes

Congratulations! You’ve mastered the technology of blogging. From here on, you are going to have fun!


Stephen, the-freelance-editor.com
e-mail: editorial –at– Im Your Editor –dot– com
text: 832-233-0041

the-blog-editor is a division of  the-freelance-editor.com, where we work with our clients—you or your team—to help them say what they want to say to the audience they want to reach.

If you still have questions or concerns after exploring our site
or  if you’re ready to see about getting your complimentary sample edit
and an estimated rate and schedule, contact me today.