Monthly Archives: February 2013

How to add page numbers to a Word document (1)

This article is going to teach you the basics of adding page numbers to a Word document, using Word 2007 or Word 2010. Later articles in the series will tackle more complicated topics such as mixing Roman and Arabic numerals and making sure your first page doesn’t have a number if you don’t want it to.

Why add page numbers to a Word document?

Good question? You might have a perfectly nice, short document, that looks a bit like this ..

1 page

And you don’t really need to add page numbers. But what if it’s going to be a book, or you’re going to introduce a contents page or index? What if people are going to want to quote from it, or refer back to a particular section? Even though if they read your document on their Kindle, they might not be able to see the page numbers, these are all good reasons why you might want to give your readers some page numbers to help them navigate their way through your text.

Where are the menus and buttons for adding page numbers?

As usual, there are a couple of ways to access the menus and buttons you need for adding page numbers. But, again, as usual, they lead to the same place in the end.

Method One involves choosing the Insert tab. Once you’re there, you’ll find a section called Header & Footer, and there’s your Page Numbers button:

2 insert

Method Two involves clicking with your left mouse button in the blank space at the bottom (or top) of your page. Another way to do this is to select the Design tab, but sometimes that doesn’t show up by default. Clicking on the blank bit of the page will bring up the Headers and Footers and your Page Numbers button:

2 click footer

In Word 2003, you can find the page numbers options in the Header and Footer menu.

Now you’ve found the Page Numbers button, it all stays the same from now on, and its menu looks like this:

3 page numbering options

We’ll look at how to position your page numbers, and then how to format them (it’s best to do it this order).

How do I choose the position of my page numbers?

You will find two options for positioning your page numbers:

1. At the top or bottom of the page

2. Elsewhere in the page margins

To choose the position of the page numbers in the top or bottom areas of the page, choose Top of Page or Bottom of Page (the positions are identical for the two). Here we choose Top of Page:

4 number placement options

You can see lots of options for positioning your page numbers, including that fancy “Page 3 of 12” you’ve seen on other people’s documents. To select the position, click on the example that suits you best (you can scroll down for even more choices).

If you try out Page Margins, you will be given another set of options allowing you to insert your page numbers all over the place:

5 number placement options page margin

Again, you can scroll down for even more options.

I find that people have one or two favoured number positions and ignore the others (in much the same way that we only use two programmes on our washing machines). But it’s useful to know how to find all those extra places, in case you’re working collaboratively or with a client who has particular preferences.

Now we’ll look at some basics of formatting your page numbers.

How do I format my page numbers?

This is best done once you’ve decided on the page number position, and you can come back and format them at any time, by finding and clicking on the Page Numbers button. We’re just going to look at the basics here, with more complex choices being discussed next time.

To format the page numbers, find the Page Numbers button and choose Format Page Numbers:

6 format page numbers

Select Format Page Numbers and you’ll find some more options for changing your page numbers from Arabic to Roman (or Roman capitals) and for where to start the numbering:

7 number format

If you drop down the Number format list, you’ll find your choices laid out. You are not likely to want to use anything other than straight Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3 …) if you are just using one numbering style for the whole document; the others will come in handy when we learn how to apply different numeral styles to difference sections of the text. But the choices are there:

8 number format

Again, Chapter numbering and Continue from previous section / Start at are mainly used when you’re applying different numbering styles to different parts of your document (Roman numerals for the contents page and foreword, Arabic for the main text, etc.) but it’s worth knowing where to find these choices for next time.

So, let’s summarise and look at how to apply standard, straightforward page numbering to a document.

How do I apply standard page numbering to my document?

If you just want simple numbers in Arabic numerals at, say, the bottom right hand corner of each page, here’s how you do it.

First, click on the Page Numbers button and choose Bottom of Page, then select the example that best fits where you want your page numbers to appear:

9 basic format

Then, choose Format Page Numbers and make sure your options are set to Arabic numerals 1, 2, 3 … and page numbering to start at 1:

10 basic format

Once you’ve pressed OK, you will be back in the Footer of your document, with the main text still in grey and the page number in black, because you’re in the Footer, not the main text:

11 page number

Left click on the body of the text, and the page will reverse – the Footer indicator will disappear, your text will be in black and your number will be in grey, because it’s part of the Footer, not of the text:

12 page number

How do I insert different types of page number into one document?

In this article we’ve learned how to find the Page Numbers button and how to position the page numbers on the page and format them into different kinds of number. In Part 2 of this series, we look at adding different kinds of page number to different parts of the document, and more complicated formats for page numbers.

If you have found this article useful, please share it using the buttons below, and leave me a comment!

This is part of my series on how to avoid time-consuming “short cuts” and use Word in the right way to maximise your time and improve the look of your documents.

Please note, these hints work with versions of Microsoft Word currently in use – Word 2003, Word 2007 and Word 2010, all for PC. Mac compatible versions of Word should have similar options. Always save a copy of your document before manipulating it. I bear no responsibility for any pickles you might get yourself into!

Find all the short cuts here


Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing


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Paul Alborough

Welcome to a fab new Saturday Business Chat! Today I’m thrilled to feature my old friend, Paul Alborough, aka Professor Elemental, a rapper – but wait – in the Brit hop tradition, all Steampunk and Englishness and marvellousness.

Back in the day, we used to commute up to Barnet together. I’d be reading the latest tome from my TBR, and Paul would be scribbling lyrics on an A4 pad. One of the most memorable features of my time at that company was the off-the-cuff rap Paul did for me at my leaving tea. Since then, he’s devoted considerable time and effort to building his music career, and is now doing Professor Elemental stuff full time – well done, Paul! Let’s find out how he did it. And you HAVE to look at his videos. Remember Tone and his model dinosaurs? This stuff is just as cool. Don’t I know some excellent people!

What’s your business called? When did you set it up?

Professor Elemental is the name of the business and the character that I perform as. I have been working full time as the good Professor since January 2012.

What made you decide to set up your own business?

I was quite happy just rapping as a hobby to supplement my day job, then was lucky enough to enjoy a bit of success with it. As the amount of work as an emcee grew, so did my day job career (as a teacher), and I was forced to choose between the two. Inevitably, being a mad professor was more interesting than being a regular teacher.

What made you decide to go into this particular business area?

It was only as I got more into doing shows and realised that it was a possible way to make money out of rapping without being signed. I’ve always loved emceeing in it’s many different forms.

Had you run your own business before?

Nope. I have done a lot of rap workshops, but never as a full-time business.

How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?

I ran the two parallel careers for about a year. This was a very stressful in itself, but did allow me to keep the risks to a minimum when I finally made the jump into ful- time creativity. It feels a lot nicer risking everything when you have a bit of safety net either financially or in terms of other work.

What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

‘ITS LATER THAN YOU THINK! Sort your life out, you lazy sod!’ I would have liked them to have shouted that to me while shaking me by the lapels. I probably would have cried, but it would have been worth it.

What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?

I am still pretty new I suppose- but I am definitely learning that people value you more if you value yourself. Both creatively and financially.

What do you wish you’d done differently?

Got started earlier and not been so pessimistic about my chances of doing this for a profession. I might have saved myself a few years of life wasted in call centres.

What are you glad you did?

Working with other people. Working for yourself doesn’t mean that you have to shoulder it alone and having a good accountant, amazing booking agent and brilliant folk to collaborate with makes the whole process more fun.

What’s your top business tip?

Acheiving your dreams is entirely possible. Particularly if your dreams are relatively modest.

Oh, and be nice to people at every level of your business. That really can’t be overstated.

How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?

I have diversified as much as possible. I’m trying to say yes to as many good things as possible and it’s leading to some brilliant, unexpected places. So far there’s been a comic, a web series and some most unexpected gigs.

Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?

I’m thoroughly enjoying the freedom to take the professor character into some new and exciting places. There are a few things in the pipeline that might change my life completely. And if not, if things carry on just as they are, then I will be very happy indeed.

I don’t usually include people’s answer to the last question in the published interviews, but I had to here …

Are you happy for me to contact you in a year’s time from posting the interview, to see how you’re doing and conduct another short interview?

Yes, unless it has all gone wrong and I am destitute , living underneath Brighton pier. In which case another interview might be too depressing.

Somehow, I don’t think that will be the case! But isn’t it interesting that in the world of rap and the world of editing, we still like to do things carefully, have backup and do things nicely! Good luck to Paul / the Professor and his modest ambitions!

The Professor Elemental website can be found at and I recommend taking a look at his rather marvellous YouTube videos. He’s on Facebook, and of course you can get in touch via email.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.


Posted by on February 23, 2013 in Business, New skills, Small Business Chat


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Bated or baited?

Another one of those homophones that trips people up – perhaps more in one direction than the other? I see “with baited breath” a fair bit, but not the opposite error – and in fact it’s all about this one phrase, really, isn’t it.

Baited can be used as an adjective to describe, for example, a fish hook that has had something tempting slotted onto it to lure a fish – “I lowered the baited hook into the water and waited for the bite”. It’s also the past tense of “bait”, to put bait in a trap or on a hook, or to deliberately taunt or annoy someone (or something sentient).

Bated in the sense we’re discussing here only exists in this precise form within this phrase – how interesting! More reason to make sure we keep using it correctly – you know how I get about wanting to preserve the intricacies of our amazing language … So – “with bated breath” means “in great suspense” and comes from a 16th century usage, the past participle of bate (restrain), coming from abate, which we do still use, of course.

Bate, by the way, describes an angry mood in informal British English “ooh, don’t get in a bate with me, I was only teasing”  and is also a falconry term describing when a hawk beats its wings in agitation and flutters off its perch. So now you know.

“I waited with bated breath as he baited his sister that little bit too much … and she eventually flew into a bate”

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.


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Small business chat update – Liz Light

mugs It’s time for another Small Business Chat update, with Liz Light from the Birmingham based Stage2 theatre company. Liz’s popular post was published on 7 January 2012, and when Liz was asked where she wanted to be in a year’s time, she replied “Hopefully with stable mid or long term funding“. I’m pleased to publish two Midlands-based interviews in one weekend, and thank Liz for her honest answers and her hard work helping young people learn about the wonders of the theatre. Let’s see how things have been going …

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

We are more or less where I thought we’d be – maybe with a slightly lower membership this term.

We are not where I wanted to be as we still don’t have a regular, stable funder – we are still reliant on one-off donations.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

What has changed is that it is getting increasingly difficult to get new members, i.e. to convince young people to leave their computers and Facebook and get out to interact face to face with real people.

What has stayed the same is that they enjoy it when they do join in!

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

That we need to change the way we market and use new methods including technology and social media more  – to reach people where they are really spending time.

Any more hints and tips for people?

It is really important to keep adapting – whilst still maintaining your core values. We can see the benefits of Stage2 to young people when they come, but we have had to adapt and will continue to adapt the ways in which we engage young people in such a fast-changing society.

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

I will always hope for stable funding!

I certainly wish Stage2 all the luck in the world getting funding. As the arts seem to be increasingly eroding, it’s vital to give young people opportunities like this, and it’s vital to keep such ventures funded. Do pop and look at their website, and if you’re in the MIdlands, send your kids along to see what it’s all about!

Stage2’s website can be found here: and you can email Liz for more information.

Stage2 are still, happily, going strong, but they’ve chosen not to participate in on-going interviews, needing to concentrate on matters at hand. I wish them very well for the future.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.

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Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Business, Small Business Chat


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Mel Carpenter

Welcome to Small Business Chat with Libro. I can’t believe we’ve been running these chats for over 18 months now. Do pop a comment on any that you find particularly interesting or helpful. And are you enjoying the update posts?

Today we’re meeting Mel Carpenter from Zumba Central. Now, I could say that I prefer the purity of running and the personal battle with the weights, but truth be told, I am so hopelessly uncoordinated that I would bring havoc to a Zumba class. But, I know many, many people who love dance exercise and who have got much fitter and probably happier as a result of taking Zumba classes, and I think that’s absolutely brilliant – anything that increases the amount of fitness and fun in the population is good in my books. Mel is full of energy and enthusiasm, picking up on the latest ideas and incorporating them into her business – what a good example of moving along with your business and (literally) never standing still!

What’s your business called? When did you set it up?

I run various dance fitness businesses; the branding is similar: Zumba Central is a team of Zumba Instructors who I have trained who run classes across Birmingham (I launched this in October 2009), as is Bokwa Central (launched in March 2011).

Salsa Central is an online Latin Music magazine that I run with my fiancé (we started in July 2007). We actively promote live music and Latin dance events in the UK and around the globe.

Finally, my latest venture is UK Bokwa Gear (launched November 2011); again, I run this with my fiancé, and we are the official distributors for Bokwa clothing in the UK.

And Breathe!!

What made you decide to set up your own business?

Dance was initially a hobby for me. I started dancing salsa in February 1999, and absolutely loved it! I then had the opportunity to start teaching in December 1999, and it all took off from there really! With Zumba (I qualified in October 2009), as I was already teaching Latin dance, it was a natural progression for me to move into that area as it involved teaching dance styles I already taught. With Bokwa, (another Dance Fitness style), I was interested in it as it was relatively new and I liked the high energy style of exercise.

What made you decide to go into this particular business area?

With Zumba, it was a niche market that not many people were qualified in; two salsa students mentioned it to me, so I saw an opportunity and I took it. As mentioned above, I’d already been teaching Latin dance for a decade, so it was a natural progression for me. It was the same with Bokwa, I saw it as a new Dance Fitness style that wasn’t yet in the public eye, so I thought I would get in quick!

Had you run your own business before?

I’d taught salsa before as a freelance instructor, but never anything as detailed as when I launched my own Zumba business.

How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going?

I taught salsa alongside my day job for nearly ten years (Zumba for 2.5 years) before the birth of my daughter. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her to go back to work, so I handed my notice in and took that big step into self-employment!

What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

You can do this! I wish I had known someone who ran their own business back then, now I know loads of people! Maybe I would’ve taken the plunge sooner.

What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?

You can do this! I definitely would’ve encouraged myself to take more risks, not to be scared to try and fail.

What do you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I’d done it sooner, I bet you hear that a lot! [yes!]

What are you glad you did?

I’m glad I listened to my students who told me to check out Zumba! I have a lot to thank them for, they put me on the path that opened so many doors and completely changed my career path, I used to work in HR!

What’s your top business tip?

Speak to as many people as you can! I am always networking, whether I’m working at an event, or on the bus! Also, market yourself as much as you can! You have to talk yourself up, even when you don’t feel like it!

How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?

I have definitely grown, I am now qualified to teach Bokwa, I also went to college and took my PTTLS qualification (Preparing to Teach in the Life Long Learning Sector) so that I could learn how to write and deliver courses. I am currently training to be a Fitness Instructor so I can move into the Fitness Arena.
I’ve also diversified, I am now the Official Distributor for Bokwa merchandise in the UK, so I’ve had to learn about importing stock, it’s keeping me very busy!

Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?

I hope to be qualified as a personal trainer, with a growing client base. I also hope to continue to build the merchandising brand for Bokwa in the UK.

All exciting stuff, and I wonder what the next big thing in Dance Fitness will be – I bet Mel’s introducing it to the Midlands when we catch up with her next year! Read about Mel’s rather surprising year here.

Find out more – Zumba: Bokwa
Salsa: UK Bokwa Gear

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.


Posted by on February 16, 2013 in Business, New skills, Small Business Chat


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On being edited

editsWriters are always being told by other writers (and editors) about the importance of being edited. But what does it actually feel like to have someone go through your precious words with that dreaded red pen? Only recently, as I’ve struggled with edits in my own book, have I realised how my clients must feel when they receive their poor corrected texts back from me. I hope this new understanding will help me to be a better editor …

On being edited

I’ve been putting together an e-book based on my Libro Full Time blog which has charted my experiences of going full-time self-employed. I pulled all the blog posts together, added some commentary, an introduction, fleshed it out a bit, read it through … but before I went to publish it I did as all good writers (should) do and considered having it edited.

I put a call out for beta readers and a few kind volunteers spoke up. One read it and made some excellent, useful comments, although I was a little thrown even then to see my words through someone else’s eyes. Another friend did EXACTLY as I hoped she would – she went through it line by line, picking out errors, suggesting better ways of writing sentences, AND commented on the structure, the way it hung together, how the experience of reading it could be improved.

This is the Thing: One It was like having ME edit that book. And I know I’m a decent editor

This is the Thing: Two I hated reading those comments the first time round

This is how I make my clients feel!

That was my first thought. No: my first thought was, “My text, my beautiful text! How dare she muck with it??” All defences up, all crests raised, spines bristling, eyes watering …

And I must be at pains to point out here that my friend:

  • Did it right – she said exactly what I would have said had the document been written by anybody else
  • Did it kindly – no snarkiness, no visible or invisible sighs
  • Did a good job – she picked up micro and macro errors
  • MADE THE TEXT BETTER – she really, really did

But my knee-jerk reaction, in pretty well this order, was

  • Anger – how dare she mess with my text? I write stuff all the time! It can’t be wrong! … oh …
  • Horror – how did I not notice THAT?
  • Shame – I was going to publish this pile of rubbish?
  • Embarrassment – someone has seen this in this state!
  • Despair – will I ever get this into shape or should I just give up now? I know, I’ll give up

In the interests of research, I’ve gone back and looked at the text. It’s fine: it can be whipped into shape and it will be a much better book for it.

Once I’d gone through these cycles of shame, horror, despair and … finally … acceptance, the terrible realisation dawned on me …

This is how my clients must feel when they get their work back from me

Is it just me, or is it everyone?

I asked some editor colleagues, writers and people I’ve worked with what being edited feels like to them. We all know it’s a worthwhile process – but I was after the emotional reaction.

My old friend, Annabelle Hitchcock from Yara Consulting reported that she feels quite comfortable about being edited, “but specifically about being edited by you, Liz. I know you and I trust you and I know that you know my writing style and won’t alter it into something that it’s not. I also trust you to give me feedback, and to make sure that I’m actually communicating what I THINK I’m communicating”. So that trust is very important, and makes it easier (although I trusted the ladies who looked at my text, too, of course … )

Trust comes up for Alison Mead of Silicon Bullet, too – “Personally for my blog posts, knowing I am going to be edited means I can type my stream of consciousness without worrying too much about grammar and spelling , so my words can have the flow they would if I was talking them – but I have the confidence that those errors will be picked up and corrected. To be honest I don’t notice the edits – so have no idea how many changes you actually make! It is good to have that trust and confidence about the job being done well!”.

So these two highlight the ideal working relationship between an editor and a writer. It’s worth noting that I have been working on small blog post texts for these two ladies for a few years now, and have known them for significantly longer. But how do you build up that trust instantly? And what if’ you’re an editorial and writing professional yourself?

Here’s someone who actively enjoys it, but do note that he still finds it challenging: “I enjoy being edited. It gives me a chance to see how other editors do things, gets me to think about things I have done unthinkingly, and reminds me that all writers, even if they are also editors, have blind spots sometimes. It is also a little nerve-racking, of course – but then many worthwhile things are!” – Sebastian Manley of Manley Editorial.

And another editor colleague, Katharine O’Moore Klopf of KOK Edit, has a similar emotional pathway to mine: “My initial reaction to being edited—and I’ve been an editor since 1984—is ‘Oh, #@&^!’ And then I start reading through the edits and nodding my head, thinking, ‘You know, that’s a good edit. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.’ And by the time I’ve finished reviewing the edits, I’m thinking, ‘Thank goodness for editors!’ You’d think I’d go straight to the ‘thank goodness’ part by now, but there is always that first little shock.”

And what about fiction authors? I suspect that fiction and memoir writers are the ones most wedded to their words, as they are perhaps most personal to them (I might be wrong there, though!).

Steve Hewson, author of “The Wild Earth” writes,”I asked Linda Bates to edit my first novel. Prior to the process starting, I imagined that the it might be more of a grammatical check (necessary because a) I am very (and unavoidably) careless b) I don’t really know anything about grammar. However, it soon became clear that editing was a whole other level of input. Once I’d decided to put in the effort to properly respond to Linda’s editorial suggestions (I was rather busy and somewhat tired of the whole affair prior to giving it to Linda) I found it really challenging and enjoyable.” So there’s the c-word again – “challenging”. Steve has gone on to kindly describe the whole process for us:

“I remember being aghast that the first page (which I thought was pretty good) had loads of changes suggested. (17, after counting them!). Then on the next pages I saw that Linda had added many comments concerning word definitions, writing styles and so on. I was dismayed at the clear time implications of working on these and also thought that Linda might be overdoing the proofreading job. However, I took the plunge and accepted the changes and realised that the result was more streamlined and clean.

Once I had decided to devote my energies to reworking the book I soon got into the stride and began to welcome the editorial changes rather than dread them. I think that being edited is rather similar to being filmed whilst teaching or lecturing: unconscious habits of pen are unearthed in the same way that the camera reveals unconscious habits of speech (such as saying ‘erm’ very frequently). I realised that I made frequent use of double adverbs. It was really very tough (see what I did there …) to realise that this habit made the text less engaging, but was good to realise this.

The sort of comment that I never got used to were those concerning the ways that the characters spoke or behaved. I love my characters and to be told ‘X wouldn’t say that sort of thing’ was always met defensively. I was particularly distressed to be told that I had (at a key moment) unconsciously reinforced gender stereotypes with Gracie. This was a difficult pill to swallow, especially since I had deliberately attempted to eliminate this sort of thing. Still I emerged a better person for it, and Gracie has a little more action at a key part of the book. I’m sure she’d thank me for it …”

Thanks to Steve for that great description of what it feels like to be edited – I’m sure my fellow editors will read it with great interest!

How do we make it right?

So, as editors, how do we make this process as smooth as possible for our clients? I have realised that they will never just grab the new document with joy, making all the changes immediately and unquestioningly. Well, some of them will, but going by the comments I garnered and discussed above, only people I’ve known for years who just have little bits and bobs for me to work on are likely to do that.

As for the rest of them, well, now I have some inkling of how they feel when they receive my annotated manuscript back, I’m going to make these resolutions:

  1. Try to build trust first of all – I already send links to my references, and many of my clients come via recommendation – and I have a new procedure whereby I send the style sheet I’ve put together during the editing process to the author at the end, thus proving I know what I’m doing and there are reasons for my choices.
  2. Remain kind. Sometimes I do get a little exasperated. But I, too, make the same mistakes throughout, repeat myself and am not always consistent. So why should I expect anyone else to be any different?
  3. Understand that when the client asks a question, sometimes they just need reassurance that they’re  not stupid or rubbish at writing. And they are almost never casting doubt on my ability, but either wanting to know why in order to make their writing better, or being anxious generally.
  4. Make sure I praise as well as criticise. I do try to do this already; I will try to do it more, now. Whether they’ve written a great bibliography or coined a smart turn of phrase, even if they’ve just managed to avoid plagiarising or quoting Wikipedia this time round, there’s always something to praise and I must find it and mention it.


Has this article struck a chord? Are you a writer with something to say about your emotional reaction to being edited? Are you an editor who’s found ways to smooth this emotional path? Do share in the comments!


Pacific or specific?

DictionariesI don’t know about you, but I had suspected that this one was something of an urban myth, encountered only in sitcoms or observational comedy. As I came across it myself, yesterday, in a verbal interaction, I do suspect that it only appears verbally, and not in written form, in its non-ironic instances. (I don’t go in for finger-pointing for the sake of it, but if you do come across a written instance, do let me know.)

So, for the avoidance of doubt:

Pacific means peaceful in either intent or character (or both), or related to the Pacific Ocean.

Specific, which I would like to hazard a guess is 99.9% of the time the word the user means to use, means precise, clear, clearly defined – so “would you like your new mattress delivered on a specific date or don’t you mind when it arrives?” and is also used in relation to a particular subject – “These tufts are specific to this particular kind of mattress”.

You can find more troublesome pairs here and the index to them all so far is here.


Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Errors, Language use, Troublesome pairs, Writing


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Small business chat update – Charles Davis

mugs It’s time for another Small Business Chat update, this time with Charles Davis, the photographer. He was first featured on 21 January 2012, and when asked where he wanted to be in a year’s time, replied “I’ve recently been lucky enough to pick up interest from a number of up-and-coming fashion designers and been asked to become their official photographer, which is flattering to say the least.  Whether reportage, still life, or traditional, using a variety of photographic styles is still key for me when telling the story. My photographic work  offers a visual representation of my unique perspective, exploring the depths of beauty and style, whilst hopefully still portraying elements of the classical. I feel my work retains relevance to 21st century client, and I plan to keep it that way!” So, how’s he doing now? Well, 2012 has gone well for Charles, and he’s looking ahead to another good year, I’m pleased to say … 

Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?

What a year 2012 was, with a number of assignments leading up to the fabulous Olympics in London. Here’s a link to some of the images from the sponsor shoot for members of the TeamGB Beach Volleyball Team. I also took part in the Press & PR coverage for the ever-growing Clothes Show Live with fabulous performances in the Suzuki Fashion Theatre including JLS & Peter Andre.

A lot can happen in a year and overall I’m delighted with how 2012 went. Indeed, at the time I was starting to be commissioned for assignments in the fashion sector and that has progressed well, with my next assignment as Official Photographer to the inaugural Birmingham International Fashion Week in March, in aid of UNICEF.

What has changed and what has stayed the same?

My Commercial, Lifestyle, Press & PR work has increased, especially through agency bookings, plus I managed to reinvest back into the business with extra kit and equipment that has provided greater scope and creativity. What has stayed the same is that I am totally enjoying myself.

What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?

Hard work, tenacity and always going out of your way for your client pays big dividends. How lucky I am to be able to do something I thoroughly enjoy.

Any more hints and tips for people?

Please see below …

And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?

A number of International opportunities have recently been presented to me, with potential assignments in California and Washington, DC together with a number of other interested locations. I’d also like to further invest in the business to eventually have a sustainable stream of studio-based work and a permanent studio, although that might be a three-year plan.

Charles also offered me a few Q&As to help with the hints and tips – who am I to turn this down? So, here goes … 

What was your first professional break to get you started as a photographer?

It’s difficult to pinpoint one. My initial approach when first starting my business was Marketing Marketing Marketing!  Having an extensive network of contacts from my previous careers gave me the opportunity to just update people as to what I was doing now, LinkedIn is perfect for this!  This opened a number of opportunities with different companies and agencies who very kindly commissioned me for a number of their assignments.
However, if you’re booking a photographer, there are a number of immediate requirements. Is he/she results driven? Can they meet the brief and expectations?  Are they cost-effective? Are they reliable?  I think if you can demonstrate competency in these areas, it goes a long way!

Also join relevant associations that will give you an adequate return in features and benefits. I’m a very keen member of MIPAA – the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association and also the NUJ – National Union of Journalists.  It can be surprising the contacts you make.

What challenges did you face when you first started?

Everyone is a photographer, with most mobile phones having cameras that are capable of taking a high quality image. Plus the market is flooded with people offering their part-time services as a photographer. You often hear from some established photographers how they denigrate new talent for giving their skills and services away for free. The reality is that they’ve all done this when they first started.

How would you advise others to overcome them?

You need to use the best quality kit and equipment you can afford. I use all Nikon Equipment and Nikon Lenses and I’m currently looking to upgrade my two Nikon D3s DSLRs to the fabulous D4. I also prefer to use Prime lenses that give such beautiful results.

I pay particular attention to lighting, again using portable lighting units, e.g. Elinchrom Ranger Quadra which has fundamentally changed the way professional photographers can work since 2009, especially on location with their outstanding capabilities and portability.

Always look for key opportunities where you will be able to highlight and demonstrate your abilities as a photographer.  This means doing different assignments potentially for free or a few expenses until to start to become established.

How did you market yourself and get leads / jobs in the early days?

Your website is your shop window: make sure it portrays you and your work well whilst giving the visitor / potential client the information they require. There was a time for any new business, where you would have to advertise at a considerable cost and wait for the phone to ring. My approach has been to embrace Social Media in a joined-up strategy, using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc., to drive interest towards your website.

People often ask, what type of photographer are you? Well it’s fine to just concentrate on a particular photographic style and if you can secure enough interest then that’s great. However, in such austere times many photographers are finding it difficult to bring in enough business and its therefore important to have a broad approach to the assignments you’re prepared to take on, given that you have the skills, technical knowledge and equipment to meet those needs and hopefully exceed the clients’ expectations. So, in simple terms, I describe myself as a Commercial, Lifestyle, Press & PR Photographer and I work on the basis, if I can meet the client’s expectations, then I’ll shoot it!

Good advice for any budding professional photographers out there!

NOTE: Charles and Professional Photography are definitely still going, but he’s been too busy with work commitments to update his chat interview. We’ll welcome him back when he has time, of course!

You can find Charles’ website here: and email him of course. Find him on Twitter or just phone 07824 444 487.

If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.

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Posted by on February 9, 2013 in Business, Small Business Chat


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Shelly Terry

Welcome to a new Small Business Chat! I’m so proud to be able to feature so many different businesses in this series. People have told me they enjoy reading these but please do post if you do enjoy them, to encourage me and my interviewees!

Today we’re saying hello to Shelly Terry from Evelyn Mae, a business offering handmade stationery, cards and picture frame art. Shelly took a hobby she’s loved (and made a business out of) since childhood and grown a thriving business, which is lovely, isn’t it. And what an interesting initial double job, actress and card maker! Shelly has some really interesting points for all you crafters out there, so I hope you enjoy reading …

What’s your business called? When did you set it up?

I have a handmade greetings card, stationery and picture frame art business, called ‘Evelyn Mae’, and although I ‘officially’ started trading in September 2010, I have always made my own cards – even as a seven year old I had a business called Rainbow cards with a school friend!!

What made you decide to set up your own business?

I was working as an actress, and needed a very flexible job that I could work around auditions, so I began selling my cards.  I got married and put the acting on hiatus, but the card making and creativity continued!

What made you decide to go into this particular business area?

I decided on card making, because a) It is something I had always done, and b) it gives you a reward at the end of a day’s work.  In the performing business, it was difficult to feel like you had achieved anything when you were in between jobs, but with card making, each day I had created something.

Had you run your own business before?

Before ‘Evelyn Mae’, I hadn’t run a business before: the only experience I had was being a self-employed actress.  It has certainly been a learning curve!

How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?

I already had lots of time between auditions and acting jobs, so I worked around this. I didn’t need to consider giving up a job to make ‘Evelyn Mae’ work, which is really lucky.

What do you wish someone had told you before you started?

I wish someone had told me that getting a balance between work and home life is difficult.  I find that so many other businesses are run by people who have another job, that when I want to network online with them, I have to do a lot of it in the evening, meaning that there is a tendency to work all the time!  Had I been told this early on, I might have got the balance right sooner!

What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?

If I could go back and tell myself anything, it would be to stick with creating card design lines.  I moved away from this after the first few months, and am now, two years later, going back to it!  I should have stuck with it to begin with!!

What do you wish you’d done differently?

I wish I had kept a stricter control on my budget!  As a crafter, once you are in business you have to shift from hobby to business, and this means only buying what you need, and not what you feel like playing with!  If I had manged this earlier on, I would have been in a position now to buy the equipment I really need now.

What are you glad you did?

I am glad that I have stuck with it.  I have creative slumps where cards just don’t work, and I have to take a few days or a week away from it! But I am glad that each time I have gone back to it with renewed energy and continued building the business.

What’s your top business tip?

My top tip would be to adhere to days off, and working hours.  I have found that taking the day off from the business in the week, lets my mind wander, reset itself and really focus when I am next at the craft desk.  Days off are as important as the days you work. Take them, and protect them.

How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?

‘Evelyn Mae’ is steadily growing.  I have branched out from starting with cards, to offering wedding stationery and rustic frames.  Next year will see Father Christmas letters and Christmas gifts. I have also stepped sideways, and next week will be giving business talks on using Facebook with your business, something I didn’t see as a possibility when I started three years ago.

Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?

In a year’s time, I see my business offering word art and a new style of card, having bought the equipment I need to make this happen.  I also hope to be turning a bigger profit, and having some work published.

Some great points about our work-life balance there – something we all find out as we go along through the years of business! I’m looking forward to seeing how Shelly’s doing this time next year – let’s look out for that work being published and the exciting new styles. And it’s great to see her giving back by sharing her knowledge about using Facebook to promote her business. Find out what Shelly got up to in 2013 here!

You can find the Evelyn Mae website at and email Shelly by clicking the link. And here’s that all-important Facebook page, of course!

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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Business, New skills, Small Business Chat


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