Every editor, like every worker, needs tools. The tools may belong to the person (like mine do) or to their institution.
I became a freelance editor (and an editor, period) two years ago. Since then, I have acquired a number of tools for my work.
One is my laptop computer, which I obtained at the end of June and which I got because I simply could not do my editing on the five-year-old desktop which my husband and I share. There had to be a machine that was dedicated to work. The desktop equals fun (which includes music for my workouts).
Another of my most valuable tools is Microsoft Word 2019 for Dummies, a book through which I went earlier this year and from which I learned a great deal. Although it is meant to be a reference book (and I have also used it as such), I found that reading it from cover to cover when I first obtained it and following its instructions on my computer was helpful as well.
Then there is The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition. This tome is the gold standard of writing and editing for many. Though not meant to be read from cover to cover, CMOS is a valuable resource on grammar, punctuation, the way numbers should be written, and such. My only concern is that I am wondering what to do with my copy when the 18th Edition of CMOS comes out.
I also have The Copyeditor’s Handbook and Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. Since I often edit scientific material such as research manuscripts and grant proposals, this book gives me the rules for doing so. And let us not forget the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, or “APA.” Many social science research papers, a few of which I have edited, use APA as their style guide.
Is my tool kit complete? By all means, no. I am certain that I will acquire more books and pieces of equipment in the future.
But let us always remember my most important tool:
My daily planner.