Editing and writing services from the Professional Wordsmith

My name is Terence P Ward, and I am the professional wordsmith you need. Contact me to talk about your writing or editing needs, using the form below.

I have been providing journalism-quality non-fiction and business writing, along with scrupulous editing according to professional editing standards, since 2004. My work has been published in a number of hyper-local periodicals including Hudson Valley One, Country Wisdom News, the Shawangunk Journal, and the New Paltz Times. It’s also been featured in magazines like Witches and Pagans on news sites such as the Wild Hunt, where I served as news editor.

Writing without an editor is like walking a tightrope without a net, in that you’re removing something that protects your investment. It’s not a human life on the line when it comes to writing, but it might be a company’s reputation for professionalism and quality. As a fastidious writer, I loathe writing without an editor looking over my work because I know that it’s impossible to catch all of my own misteaks. I don’t have an editor for this site, just to reinforce that point.

Business writing: fact-based journalistic prose that’s suitable for company press kits, news releases, and public relationships. What I bring to any writing I do for a business client is not only years of experience complying with rigorous professional standards, but also a journalist’s skeptical eye. The ugly truth is that it’s very easy to tell the difference between a news article and an “advertorial” or other news-like promotional piece. What I bring to the table is the ability to tone down the cheer-leading that can undermine the credibility.

Professional copy editing: got an in-house magazine or newsletter you produce, or a web site to maintain? Bringing your public-facing text in line with Associated Press style or other set of standards is a subtle, but powerful, way to set your company off from the competition. Aligning with one style makes it much easier to keep the official voice of your organization consistent. Editing is not just about style, though; it’s also about the nuts and bolts of getting grammar and spelling into shape. English is a difficult language, even for native writers, and unfortunately the only time anyone ever notices most writing is when it’s got a minor error in it. Do you want your audience to be focused on a misplaced apostrophe, or on your message?

Gender-free copy: standard English is infused with gendered language, and it is becoming clear to many that this is usually unnecessary. Some solutions create other problems, though—for example, replacing all pronouns with “they” can easily result in wording that is less clear. Decoupling gender from language requires both a firm grasp of grammar, and a high level of sensitivity.

Editorial consultation: standards are good, but sometimes there’s no existing standard that really fits what you need based on the audience for whom you’re writing. I have experience developing house style guides and can work with the leader of any organization to implement a custom one.

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