The Open Desk

Margie Beilharz

Freelance editor and writer in science, environment, education, health

Do you create or publish content for a public audience?

Professional assistance can improve the quality of your product – and make you look better!

As a freelance editor and writer, I can help you produce concise, fresh and accurate content for a public audience.

I specialise in the areas of science, health and the environment for print or online.

  • Reports
  • Management plans
  • Articles and newsletters
  • Educational texts
  • Technical reports
  • Books
  • Conservation plans
  • Annual reports
  • Web pages

If you write or produce content, you want people to read and understand it. You may want to build a relationship with your audience or persuade people to take action; you may want to educate or inspire. You are more likely to achieve your goals with content that is:

  • clearly expressed – conveying your message in a cohesive and logical story
  • engaging and suited to your audience – using appropriate language and avoiding jargon and bureaucratic or technical terms where possible
  • well written – making reading enjoyable and easy
  • professionally presented – using consistent format styles and following current standards (such as the Australian Style Manual and/or your house style) for spelling, punctuation, numbers, abbreviations, scientific terms, referencing and use of capitals, italics and hyphens
  • polished – making the reading experience seamless without irritating errors and typos or poor formatting.

Even well-written text can usually be significantly improved by a professional editor who assesses the document as a whole, examines each sentence in detail, and applies relevant styles and standards. Many of the finicky details I consider as an editor are invisible to most readers (and writers), but they tidy up the text or document to a professional standard that you can share with confidence.

I specialise in the areas of science, health and the environment – particularly on material aimed at a public audience. I’m a big fan of plain English and will happily edit technical or bureaucratic text to make it much easier to understand and more enjoyable to read.

Most of my clients are government bodies or organisations in science, environment, education or publishing. I also work for a number of other science communication agencies and a few individual clients.

In editing and writing terms, my document-wrangling services include:

  • copyediting and substantive editing (also called structural or developmental editing) (usually in Word)
  • proofreading (usually in PDF or Word)
    See Types of editing on the IPEd (Institute of Professional Editors) website for a detailed explanation of copyediting, substantive editing and proofreading.
  • writing and researching
  • formatting Word documents with styles for structure and consistency
  • converting jargon and long sentences into plain English
  • combining multiple authors and managing complex reports
  • overseeing images, including checking permissions and crediting requirements
  • checking and formatting references
  • writing alt text for images and figures and advising on accessibility
  • liaising with a designer to produce the final document.

I work on:

  • reports of all sorts, including annual reports
  • textbooks and other educational resources
  • magazines
  • policy documents
  • management plans
  • newsletters
  • journal articles
  • books
  • web content.

See my current and recent projects, my editing and writing portfolios, and my clients.

I’m a professional member of the Institute of Professional Editors (IPEd). For over four years (2015–19), I edited and distributed the monthly newsletter for the state branch, Editors Victoria.

See more about me.