I am a journalist who draws on over thirty years of print and online experience to offer a range of website and editorial services.
You get calm, organised, speedy and friendly services in these fields:
• WordPress website/blog builds, with training and support if needed. Add-ons include social media services, content production and basic SEO.
• Audits of existing websites; writing content for websites.
• Online web work (curation, news copy editing, day-to-day management; project management, superior headlines, consulting on management of online teams and production systems).
• Editing, proofreading and writing (specialise in journalism, literature, fantasy, food and crafts)
• Training – a wide range of editorial and production modules are available.
WHAT’S MY NICHE?
The accepted wisdom about freelancing is that it is better to specialise than to offer a wide range of generalist services. Walt Kania sums it up well:
Yes. Specialists always do better. There is no debating this. I can’t think of any freelancer who made it big as a handyman. The world already has plenty of all-purpose copywriters, versatile translators, general web designers and utility infielders. Don’t jump into that haystack. You will be lost forever … you stake out your private territory, even if it’s the size of a beach towel, and then own it. You’re not trying to cover all bases, appeal to everyone, do everything. You have your thing.
Looking at the list of services I offer it does seem as though I am ignoring this tried-and-tested rule. But look more closely… there is actually only one thing there: 30 years of editorial experience. I offer what seems to be a wide range of general services. But actually what you are getting is my brain and my hands and my speed and my knowledge. Applied any which way you want.
• A BA (Hons) degree in English, Psychology and Literary Theory and a high school teaching diploma. I obtained my Honours degree and teaching diploma at the University of Cape Town, and my BA at the then University of Port Elizabeth. That means: high-level English language skills, research ability, analytical thinking and a proper understanding of education.
• Five years reporting experience on the Cape Times, a morning newspaper in Cape Town. That means writing ability, on-the-ground reporting experience and an understanding of how news is gathered.
• 10 years print editing experience on the Cape Argus, Cape Town’s afternoon newspaper. That means the ability to cut and cobble stories, headline writing skills and page layout experience. Since I was eventually promoted to deputy chief sub, it also lay the groundwork for management skills and was the start of my training practice (I was part of a training team for a big content management system change).
• Three years freelancing experience, in which I ran a parenting website, did copy editing for magazines and proof-read non-fiction books. That means the obvious editing skills, but also experience in running my own business.
• 10 years online editing experience at Independent Online, starting in 1999 and running through to 2016 (with a break to have a baby and do the above-mentioned freelancing). That means: I was in at the beginning of online news in South Africa and in those years at IOL I did every kind of thing that might be involved in online news: copy editing, writing, management, project work, training. I ran entertainment and lifestyle websites for many years, in addition to my other duties. I was part of various management and executive teams and have a solid understanding of online business strategy.
• I am that rare thing: a journalist who likes to understand the technical underpinnings of what I do. I have taught myself several content management systems, have dabbled in coding and have recently built several standard WordPress sites: the one you are looking at, The Books Page, Wordchest and Atlantic City TV.
• I have done courses in social media, SEO and project management.
• I have a long-standing marriage and a teenage son – and have found those emotional journeys very useful in informing my work life.