Why you need a tech editor

I’m thrilled that Laurie of The Crochet Liberation Front featured me in today’s newsletter. If you’re not a member over there and love all things crochet, do check them out. I’ve been a member of the CLF since close to the beginning and have never regretted it. I’m also a proud Indie Pro Plus member and cannot recommend it enough. There are exciting things happening there and on Hookey.org, the place where we go to play.

In today’s newsletter, Laurie mentioned my tech editing side of my business. I have a page here on my site describing my services, but thought I’d answer the age old question I hear a lot from newer designers, “Why do I need a tech editor?”

The answer is simple and blunt. No one is perfect.

While I can’t answer as the end all be all of the tech editing world, I can tell you what I do and why I think it’s important for every designer.

1. I check to make sure that if you abbreviate a stitch one way in your abbreviations list, you abbreviate it that way all the way through your pattern. In other words, consistency.

2. I check to make sure that you’ve explained the stitches you need to explain. If you are using a special stitch, it’s explained in the beginning and that abbreviation is used throughout.

3. I check to make sure you have all the materials listed. This can be something as simple as listing that the crocheter will need stitch markers to complete the pattern.

4. I check all that pesky punctuation. As we all know, punctuation is very important in pattern instructions.

5. I check to make sure your repeats actually work out.

6. I check to see that someone who didn’t design the pattern can actually make the pattern. I was a designer, I know how easy it is to go off of what you have in your head and forget to put something important in the pattern.

7. I make sure the pattern is easy to read and understand.

8. I make sure the pattern lines up with your style sheet. And if you don’t have a style sheet yet, I help you come up with one. This goes a long way for branding.

9. I ask the questions a crocheter might ask, so you can take care of it in the pattern rather than waiting for the customer service questions.

10. I give you peace of mind that your pattern can be made successfully by others.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. “But Tracie, tech editors are expensive, and I am a one person show here, without a lot of spare money.” I get that. I do. I was the same way. So, I’ll say this. My rates are pretty reasonable. And well written patterns don’t take me as long to tech edit. If you do the work ahead of time to make sure your pattern is the best it can be, then you’re likely only paying me for my hour minimum to double check everything. I will be posting more soon on what you can do to help your tech editor (whether that’s me or someone else).

So, I’ll close this short blog post with this. If you are a designer and interested in having your patterns tech edited, use the Contact form found here and let’s talk. I always do an estimate prior to starting work, so you know a ballpark figure. If I think I’ll go over, I let you know before doing so. I understand the plight of the independent designer. But let’s talk.

A new to me office!

For the past few months (wow, okay, five of them), I’ve been working on an old dining room table in the living room. While the view was fantastic (straight out to the lake across the street), it was really hard to stay focused on work for a number of reasons. One, my back was to the rest of the house and so I spent a lot of time turning around whenever someone was walking around the house (or the animals were up to something). Two, there was no real privacy to allow me to focus when I really needed to and other people were home. Three, I spent a lot of time stacking stuff on the table behind my computer or on the chair next to me. Most of my files and books and things were being stacked in the other room (away from nosy kitties). It was making me crazy and making it really hard to get done those things I needed to get done.

So, this last weekend, my love and I spent some time and cleaned out the office. Yes, there’s been an office this whole time, but it was being used for storage as he went through things that needed clearing out. We also were using it to store things we’d moved out of the living room when we rearranged it. It’s not fully there yet, but it is at least now useable. There’s still a whole bookcase that needs to be emptied and gone through, as well as a file cabinet, but it’s well on its way.

The best parts about this room? Windows all around (okay, I’m not totally thrilled because it makes it really hard to put cool storage furniture in here when there’s no available wall space) for light. I can still see out to the lake as well as the yard. There’s a window a/c unit in here, so as it only gets hotter here (we’re already hitting in the 90s these days), I can stay comfortable. And, best of all, there’s a door. Not that I’ve shut it yet, but it’s going to be a little easier for the boy to recognize that I’m working over the summer if I close it part way.

Oh, and my favorite part?

The view in the evenings when my love sits across from me. The “desk” that was in here is a table from IKEA so we each have a side from it. So, in the evenings now, he sits across from me and we both can work. Of course, as I tweeted last night, this means when we want to show something to the other, we now rely on Google Talk to share links. In the old set up, we were sitting next to one another so it was a little easier.

The animals have approved the office as well. Cinder, our dog, sleeps on the floor either next to me or under the desk the entire time I’m in here. Alice, has decided to employ the “If I fits, I sits” method of choosing a cat bed (although she was unhappy that there is another box inside this one…it was sitting there to make it to the recycle bin):

The other two cats sneak in from time to time and then wander back out. I like that I can shut the door to the room at night and not have to worry about the cats stealing yarn or projects or whatever.

I’m hoping that now that I have a space I can truly work in, I can get a lot more accomplished. 🙂

Book Reading Update

Whew, last week flew by, and after the Knitting and Crochet Blog week, I needed a break!

So, I thought I’d do a “books I’m reading” post.

I’ve been reading a lot of little books, and most of them aren’t even worth mentioning. But, I did finish Origins: Spinward Fringe that I mentioned in my last books post. It was pretty good. Not happy that it’s the first book of a long series, because, well, I don’t have enough of an attention span anymore to do those.

The one book I am reading on my Kindle is Winnie and Gurley: The Best-Kept Family Secret by Robert G. Hewitt.

It’s pretty good. I really like it. The author has a great way of telling the story about his family and how he came about writing the book. There’s a lot of family photos, which show up remarkably well on the Kindle, and it helps to get the reader rooted in the story.

Here’s the description: When they met in 1906, Winnie Griffith was the headstrong fifteen-year-old daughter of a wealthy small-town merchant and Gurley Hewitt the hardworking twenty-year-old orphaned son of a Methodist circuit rider. When they fell madly in love, nobody approved. It took them two years to overcome the opposition, and then they married. It was a romantic beginning. This is the story of its tragic end.

Award-winning artist Robert Hewitt is the youngest grandchild of Winnie and Gurley. Throughout much of his life the family conspired to keep him ignorant of his grandparents’ story even as they were hanging onto a large horde of memorabilia and materials that, all together, told the tale. All of it ended up in Winnie’s gargantuan black trunk, the same trunk in which she’d carried her schoolgirl wardrobe back and forth on the train to Rollins College. After Winnie’s death, at her specific instruction, the family gave the trunk to Robert.

So far, it’s proving to be a very interesting read. Even more so due to the fact that my own grandmother lived near Rollins College (so we drove by it all the time) and it was one of the schools I really wanted to go to after high school. So there is that bit of connection there.

 

Saturday was Free Comic Book day, so we went out to our two favorite comic and game stores. We mainly went in to look for a specific role playing game book for me. We couldn’t find it, but we did find another one. See, not all gaming is Dungeons and Dragons. 🙂 I tend to prefer games that are a little different than the typical d20 based rule system. It’s just too many rules and numbers and what dice go with what for me.

We stumbled upon H.P. Lovecraft’s Dreamlands: Roleplaying Beyond the Wall of Sleep (Call of Cthulhu roleplaying) and decided that was the one for me.

This is what’s known as a “source book” and contains extra characters, scenarios and the like for playing within the Call of Cthulhu system. I loved reading H.P. Lovecraft in college, so this seemed like a great plan. Little did I know that it contains a reading list, or as I called it in the car, “homework”, to help put the game master in the mood. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as like I said, I really like reading Lovecraft’s work.

 

Saturday afternoon when we got home, G handed me the Call Of Cthulhu: Horror Roleplaying In the Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft (5.6.1 Edition / Version 5.6.1) core rule book. Now, there is a newer edition out, so if you’re interested in doing this as well, you may want to go with the newer book. We have this one, though.

Which, of course, means I have even more reading to do. This book is the one that contains the rules, how to run the game, how to create the characters, so on and so forth.

This, however, led to us picking up another book while we were in the book store on Sunday. Gotta read the background material. So, we picked up The Dreams in the Witch House: And Other Weird Stories.

I’m already about a third of a way through it. I forgot how creepy Lovecraft can be. I love that! However, that led to needing something a little lighter to read last night. We were hanging out at the church while G was in a men’s group meeting, so Mr. B and I sat in another room and read (he’s reading one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid stories and loves it). G brought me from the church library a copy of Philosophy For Beginners by Richard Osborne.

Now, the edition we have in our library is from 1974, so it doesn’t look exactly like that, but it’s close. I read a few pages and really enjoyed it. It’s written in a comic book style, and that made it easier to read and understand. If you’re looking to learn about philosophy, but don’t want to have to read a lot of dry, dusty tomes to do it, pick this one up. I’m looking forward to continuing it.

 

That’s all for what I’m reading this week. As you can see, I’m kinda all over the place with my reading. That’s actually somewhat normal for me, though. You’re just finally getting a peek into the madness. 🙂

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