Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Free Editing Services

Will Edit for Food

For real.

Now, don't start throwing stuff at me. I'm looking to edit specific stuff. I've got standards, man.

First, the rub:

I lost my job. I know--who hasn't lately? Unfortunately, I'm not in a position where I can wait it out, looking for just the right thing. There's no fallback plan to provide me with insurance or, you know, roofs. Writing fiction is now a luxury for me, one that doesn't come often. It's all about the job hunt now. And income. And omg-there's-a-penny! Because children. And eating.

It's tough, though. For years, I opted to do the stay-at-home-mom thing over building a career. I was fortunate to be able to do it and figured a career would come later. But we live in a society that seems to say, "Hell yeah, women can have it all," with its fingers crossed. Forget the stellar education in English and Creative Writing or the honors and academic awesomeness. Forget the freelance work I've done, the serious volunteer work, or the years of developing a (spectacularly unsuccessful) fiction writing career. Employers want to see someone my age with unbroken years of experience and no blank spaces filled up with children. It's disheartening, to say the least. But I'm not a quitter. And I've got skills, yo. One of those skills happens to be bartering and negotiating. (Once, I talked a grizzly dude on the streets of New York into selling me a $20 knock-off Hard Rock sweatshirt for $3 and a smile.)

I'm also a really good editor. Seems to me I can come up with something to keep moving forward (and feeding children).

But this post isn't to pimp my services in exchange for money (yet). Right now, I'm offering free editing and proofreading in order to build up a fresh portfolio. That is, I need fresh editing samples to use professionally (to get work--I don't intend to use it publicly, like on my blog, unless you contractually allow me to).* So, if you have something that needs edited, and you happen to think, based on our witty exchanges and nonverbal communications, my blog posts, my reputation, my Facebook posts and tweets, and/or my sparkling personality that I might do a good job, (or even if you're unsure, but could use free editing anyway), we may be able to work out a special arrangement.

I'm looking to edit and/or proof (FOR FREE):

  • First three-five pages of a work of fiction (any genre)
  • First three-five pages of a work of nonfiction
  • Articles for online and print submission (I'm looking for both editorial and informative)
  • Academic article/document (something super geeky and sciencey and/or just above my capability to understand what the bazooka you're talking about is totally cool with me)
  • Marketing Copy
  • Cover/flap copy
  • Miscellaneous (Not gonna lie--I'd like to see something really weird need editing)

There's seriously no catch here. I need samples to get work.** You need editing. We'll trade back scratches. If you're interested, shoot me an email: cvaldezmiller (at) gmail (dot) com. We can discuss your project/document and determine if: 1. It's something that would be useful for my portfolio and, thus, able to be edited by me; and 2. How pleased you're going to be. Please indicate:

  1. What your document/project is (please don't send it yet) 
  2. What you intend to do with it
  3. What type of editing you are needing
  4. Your bank account and login info (just kidding, unless, you know, you're really generous).
That's it, folks. Thanks for visiting. Come again. Don't forget to tip your server. 

(Because children. And eating.)

P.S. I generally use Chicago Manual of Style as my go-to style, but if you really, really need something else, contact me anyway.

P.P.S. If you are in need of written copy (online or print, marketing, editorial or informative or whatever), I also happen to be a writer. Most of the time. You can contact me, too.

P.P.P.S. I use Word, Track Changes, and Oxford commas. The end.

*I would obviously never pass your work off as my own, but I'd like to state it anyway, since you don't know me and might be freaked out. I would use the edited (Track Changes) versions to prove what a stellar editor I am, and I would never post online or in any other public location without your permission. If your work contains any confidential material or material that can't be reproduced, um, yeah...I can't really use it in my portfolio.

**I offer freelance clients a free sample of my work specifically for them, but employers often want to see portfolio samples. Most of what I currently have is either irrelevant, confidential, or contractually unusable.

Friday, July 11, 2014

#TBF: LOVE in the Pages of a Diary

December 28, 1996

Dear Baby,

I went into labor today. Doctor sent me home and told me to return when the labor pains get closer. I don't know what I'm doing. Presumably they do. See you soon.

December 30, 1996

Dear Baby,

We've returned to the hospital. Labor pains have gotten stronger, but not much closer. Doctors won't induce or break my water until your actual due date of January 2. They gave me Demerol instead. It doesn't help. So far I've only seen two of the three doctors in my group practice. They are both stupid, old men. "I've done this many times, little girl." That's what the white-haired one said. Here's hoping the woman doctor will be in soon.

If I don't die first, see you soon.

January 1, 1997

Dear Baby,

The doctor gave me morphine. It doesn't seem to help.

I wish my mom were here. She would know what to do. I feel very alone. And scared. And OW.

Please hurry.

January 2, 1997

Dear Baby Girl,

Today you made me a mom, way sooner than I ever expected to be. I'm not sure yet how I feel about things.

You are so much tinier than I expected.

And so fragile. So, so breakable.

And this world is so big and heavy. It weighs on me so hard I am all but flattened by it. And I am so much bigger than you. But small yet. I worry I'm too small to protect you from it.

Nobody told me about the worry. How it will begin to consume you the moment you look into your newborn's eyes. For the first time ever, it's not a worry for yourself, but for another being, and that makes it somehow far more terrifying. You check the fingers and toes. The creases in the neck and the space behind the ears. You touch the bottoms of the feet and watch the toes curl. You slide fingers into the fists and feel the grasp of tiny hugs and never-letting-go. And then you think about germs and skinned knees and drowning water and betrayal and bullies and gossip and lies and people that hurt.

I want to believe I'm big enough, smart enough, wise enough to keep you safe. But I know better. I'm just a stupid kid. Everybody has let me know it, just in case I didn't already.

So there's this fear. As in, FEAR.

The nurse has left me to rest. Your dad went home to sleep. We're alone now. Just you and me, and you're sleeping in my arm, breathing softly, your tiny lips moving just slightly, just lying here totally trusting me, because you don't know better.

Just you and me, alone.

So, yeah FEAR.

But there's something else, something immense, and I'm only just starting to really figure it out. The thing is, I've felt love before. So many happy moments, where love seems to have filled me up. And it's made me weep when my heart has broken. When my dad left. When Johnny **** smashed the baby pumpkins in my mom's garden during my 13th birthday party. When my mom lost her job. When Dave **** broke up with me right before my Biology class with Mrs. ********, possibly the worst teacher in the history of ever, who told me to stop crying or she'd send me to the office.

In all the moments of joy and all the broken heart moments, I thought I knew what love was.

But now you. And now I know the truth.

This is love. LOVE. It is bigger than my swollen heart, bigger than me. Bigger than this awful world. Bigger than fear. You don't love me, yet or maybe never, but I love you.

I. Love. You.

I'm just a stupid kid, but I'm capable of LOVE. That makes me feel really strong. Maybe not smart enough. Or wise enough. But damn it, it makes me big enough.

January 4, 1997

My Dearest Girl,

I was nursing you today, just you and me on the daybed in your nursery. We finally seem to have gotten a hang of this feeding thing. You wrapped your little fist around my finger and looked up at me wide-eyed over my breast, with little droplets of tears at the corner of your eyes, and something broke inside me. Just shattered. You don't care how old I am or how much I don't know. In your eyes, I saw that you know how much I love you. You feel it. I know you do. And I realized today I am wholly and unconditionally yours. I made a promise to you in that moment. I swear to you I will never break it. I will love you as if our lives depended on it.

July 11, 2014

I still love you as if our lives depended on it.