Dear Future Boss,
You’ve met me on the streets or online. Perhaps I’ve given you my business card, or invited you to join my Facebook page. You may even have seen that I’m “open for business”, but what does that mean?
My name is Anna Stroud, and I’m a writer for hire.
I’m a writer, reader, editor and teacher. Educated at Rhodes University, I honed my skills when I returned to my alma mater in 2013 to work as commissioning editor for the Rhodes Journalism Review. I also helped found RJR Alive, the magazine’s digital platform. After RJR, I worked at COVER Publications where I learned how to write about the insurance and financial services industry and above all, network. My job at Sunday Times Books LIVE has been the highlight of my career so far. I was an assistant editor and under the leadership of three excellent editors, I became a digital ninja of note.
To make things easier for you, future boss, here’s a list of all the work I can do:
I am, foremost, a reader. I love reading and sharing my experience with fellow book lovers. I’ve been writing book reviews for the Sunday Times since 2015 and I also worked for Books LIVE, where I learned the ins and outs of the publishing industry.
In 2014, I won a City Press travel writing prize for my story on a trip to Japan. I’ve loved living and travelling through Asia, and learning more about the diverse cultures and of course, the food! I aim to write thoughtful essays about the places I see, always learning something about myself in the process.
I’ve been a foreign-language teacher for three years, and I’m about to start another teaching job (high school) at an international school in China, where I’ll also run the school newspaper! The teaching experience has taught me how to create educational, thoughtful lesson plans and classroom materials. In 2016, I was offered a job in the R&D department of a big textbook company in Seoul, which I sadly had to turn down. But I enjoy writing copy for educational purposes and if another opportunity like that comes along, I’ll grab it with both hands!
I’ve just completed a seven-week creative writing MOOC through the University of Iowa, in which I flexed my essay-writing muscles and remembered why I love the form. From memoir to the personal essay, as well as creative non-fiction, this is an area I flourish in. In my fourth year at Rhodes, I produced a 5000-word longform piece on education, under the mentorship of Rian Malan and Kevin Bloom.
I enjoy writing literary essays, personal essays, and essays on health, wealth and wellness.
Financial services writing
Writing about financial services, in particular insurance, is an exciting and challenging aspect of my portfolio. For someone who tends to write about humanities, I recognise the importance of understanding and helping readers to understand the finance sector.
Editing and proofreading
The English language is a beast I go up against every day. If you need a proofreader with an eye for detail, give me a call.
Translation: Afrikaans to English
I grew up in a particularly beautiful part of the Karoo, where Afrikaans falls into your ear like pebbles on a hot tin roof. Afrikaans will always be my mother tongue, no matter how far I am away from her.
Reader / Manuscript developer
Who doesn’t want to be the first line of defense at a publishing house? I’m a truthful reader, but I also look for potential.
This was a fantastic job, and I’m grateful to the Rhodes Journalism Review for giving me these skills. I now know how to approach writers for articles, encourage them to stick to a deadline, organise payment, edit the stories, source photographs, liaise with designers, proof the final pages and see the magazine to production.
Social media management
I won’t bait the trolls. Branding is about having a unique voice, and I know how to write Facebook posts and tweets for a diverse range of audiences.
What I’m looking for in YOU, Future Boss
I want an editor who can kick my ass. Someone who doesn’t feel awkward to tell me when I’ve buried the lede, or misinterpreted the facts. You should be a bit grumpy, but you shouldn’t mind my wacky outfits or reluctance to wear make-up. If you tell me to rewrite, you’ll become my favourite person. Tell me to rewrite more than once, I’ll buy you a whiskey. I want someone who will help me grow. I’m not looking for a friend; I’m looking for a mentor.
Oh, and you must be down with the revolution.