Our Blog

Team Member Q&A: Elizabeth Simins

Photo of Elizabeth Simins, copy editor

Occasionally, we put down our red pencils so we can chat with a member of the Super Copy Editors team about work, life, proofreading pet peeves, and more. Today, we’re talking with Elizabeth Simins.

Dave: Hey, Elizabeth! Great to chat with you. So, you’ve been freelancing with Super Copy Editors since last summer. What has been your favorite project so far, and what made it stand out?

Elizabeth: I usually work on shorter, urgent rush projects, but I think my favorite I’ve worked on was a giant 26,000-word set of 11 different DIY project plans for an agency client. I like digging into larger, longer-term projects every so often, particularly ones where I learn something I would never have learned otherwise, like how to build various wooden yard furniture from scratch—not that I will ever actually do that.

You have quite a few other freelance clients. You keep busy! Editing across different genres and formats—from marketing materials to fantasy novels—must require some mental gymnastics. How do you switch gears between such varied content?

It’s actually way harder for me when I don’t switch gears than when I do! That’s one of the reasons I like editing for Super Copy Editors—the work is (almost) never the same twice, so it’s basically impossible to get bored. As for juggling different clients, the hardest part is keeping all the different in-house style rules straight, but otherwise, I love constantly switching between different types of content and different formats. It keeps things interesting!

Do you have any tips or tools you rely on to keep everything going smoothly?

It’s not exactly the most original tip, but I do read everything aloud as I edit—not at full volume. And I use the free Clockify app to keep track of how much time I spend on all my projects for different clients—not for billing purposes but just to organize my life as much as possible for my own reference. 

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone just starting out in the freelance editing world?

Check the ACES job board religiously, and diversify as much as possible. In my experience, if you land, let’s say, four different simultaneous, ongoing freelance gigs, you should count on two of them being more sporadic/less reliable than you hoped, especially at the beginning. Such is the nature of freelance! So, aim to overbook yourself a little.

With your experience in such a wide range of editing fields, where do you see yourself heading next? Any new challenges you’re eager to tackle?

I really love what I’m doing now, and I don’t think I’d want to tie myself down to just one topic, genre, format, or client—though all bets are off if anyone ever offers me health insurance and PTO, of course! 

Right now, my goal is to continue working with a range of clients until, hopefully, I have enough consistent work to designate one day each week for my creative pursuits. I lived a past life as an artist/illustrator, and I have personal writing projects I’d like to have more time to work on. 

Recently, I’ve also been writing literature and nonfiction academic study guides for one of my clients, and that’s something I really enjoy doing, so I’ll be keeping room in my schedule for as much of that as possible, too.

You went to South Korea a little while ago. Is that one of your travel go-tos?

I had never been before! The trip to Korea was the first time my partner of seven years and I had ever gone on vacation together, actually, so it was a long time in the works. We do extremely want to go back, though, so fingers crossed!

I’m really curious about it because my wife is Korean American, and I’m looking forward to going to Korea one day myself. I have so many questions! Like, what’s your favorite Korean food? At the moment, mine is tteokbokki.

I have soooo many favorite Korean foods! My sweet tooth is a little out of control, so I love all hotteok varieties, and recently I’ve been really into yakgwa, which are delicious fried honey cookies. Also, I never used to like pork at all until I had this life-changing Korean barbecue pork belly in Busan, so now I’m obsessed with samgyeopsal.

And what did you do when you were in Seoul?

We walked around in lots of neighborhoods, ate amazing food, and went to museums. We were staying in an Airbnb in Hongdae, a bustling neighborhood, so we actually ended up spending a lot of time getting to know our immediate surroundings and becoming temporary “regulars” at pastry shops and cafes. Oh, and lots of shopping; I feel like my partner and I both came home with new wardrobes.

What got you interested in the culture and learning the language?

K-pop was definitely the gateway for me! Though, as for the language, I had already studied Japanese on and off since college, so Korean was a natural next one to study because the grammar is really similar. It’s probably not surprising to learn I’m kind of a nerd about grammar, and even though I seem to be totally incapable of becoming fluent in any language other than English, I love learning all the rules of different languages. I also majored in East Asian history in college, but I mainly focused on China and Japan at the time, so it’s been interesting to fill in some of the gaps now that I’ve been learning more about Korea as well.

So you’re into into K-pop? Who’re you stanning?

I’m ride or die for BTS, but I also love a ton of girl groups, especially Mamamoo and (G)I-dle. If you’re new to K-pop and interested, I recommend two albums to get you started: Love Yourself: Answer by BTS and Reality in BLACK by Mamamoo.

Love the song “Hip” by Mamamoo! As far as girl groups, I’m into Aespa, Le Sserafim, and Red Velvet. 

Yes, I love Aespa and Le Sserafim! 

My latest discovery is tripleS—I’ve been playing one of their recent ballads, “Door,” every day. So beautiful. As for the guys, the group Seventeen is killer! My wife got me into all of this. Can you tell I’m a bit obsessed at this point?

Haha, isn’t it so easy to get obsessed with them all?

I could go on for days. Quick—let’s change topics. Tell me about JoJo’s Bizarre Explainer. What the heck is this podcast? How did you get into it?

JoJo’s Bizarre Explainer is a commentary and analysis podcast about one of my favorite anime series of all time, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure! I co-host it with two old friends, and we’ve been recording since 2017, so we’ve done over 175 episodes at this point, somehow. 

Oh, wow!

JoJo’s is really hard to explain succinctly, which is why we have a whole podcast attempting to do so. It’s an adventure series that takes place in several different time periods, based on a manga that’s been running consistently since the late ’80s. We tackle one anime episode per podcast episode, so people can watch along with us, and some people have actually done that! It’s really fun.

That’s awesome. So, you’re one of our three team members who call Oregon home. I joke that we have an Oregon “bureau” because there are so many of you out there. What’s the best thing about living in the Pacific Northwest?

The weather is mild, the beer is cheap, and everyone is always dressed casually. Also, no sales tax in Oregon!

You also spent a few years here in NYC when you went to Columbia University. It looks like you were here right around the time I first moved to the city, in 2006. What do you miss about New York? Anything? 

I actually lived in New York for eight years starting in 2006! I loved it while I was there, but now that I’m in Portland, I only miss the bagels. Specifically, the bagels from Absolute Bagels on West 107th and Broadway. Word to the wise: They’re cash only.

Found this helpful? Please share:

Boost Your Workday With These Tips

Get 1 ridiculously powerful writing tip or productivity hack by email, 2x per week. Perfect for marketers, agencies, and education companies. It’s free. 💪

Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I’m Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than 25 years of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes. At Super Copy Editors, we’re passionate about helping agencies, marketing teams, and education companies refine and polish their text to give them confidence and ensure success. Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

photo of a collection of style guides and books on advertising, marketing, and education