Welcome, I've been waiting for you!

It's only fair that you should get to know a bit more about me. Just in case you Google me and find some obscure name sake with a dodgy reputation! My parents clearly never bargained on my name rhyming with the same term used for a 'lady of the night' - Charlotte the (fill in the embarrassing blank). My surname is proudly part South African, part French and with the slightest whiff of Dutch - Olivier. 

I'm a born and bred South African - a Capetonian by heart, but I have lived and worked across the country, southern Africa and Europe. These days I can be seen dodging traffic and experiencing the unique culture of Johannesburg's nothern suburbs.


 Composure in motion 


Compose Yourself! is a one-woman copy editing machine. It sounds very ooh-la-la but the truth is I sleep very little, my fiancé has to skype me to catch up and my cat's glare at me in disgust.  I decided to go freelance after spending more than ten years chasing stories, crunching deadlines and managing print and web content. I know, the sixty-four-million-dollar-question is "So why are you doing this dollybird?”

It's a funny story really. I h ad a secure job at a major SA media house in Cape Town when I met (don't laugh) "The One". Unfortunately The One lived on the opposite end of the country. Long story short, I was transferred to our Jozi office when, one day, some accountants had lunch and probably a fair measure of wine, and decided to close the publication in Johannesburg. So I did what savvy South African women do: I started Compose Yourself! and it soon took off.

I have had the pleasure of working in newsrooms across the country, both at magazines and newspapers. I have a very broad frame of reference and take great pride in every aspect of the publication process. I'm fully bilingual, English and Afrikaans and regularly entertain foreign clients with my odd French, Dutch and German accents.


 Freelancer needs job: goldfish to feed 


Now that we know each other... why pick me? I believe in tight, clean copy. Missing a deadline is not an option. I offer professional subbing at affordable rates. I am comfortable with different subject matters and can work with all types of copy. Your specific instructions are not guide lines, they are there for a reason.

I work from home and have three backup computers, ADSL, wi-fi and mobile phone modems... oh and a generator (thank you Joburg Electricity). Deadlines are deadlines and the thought of being without the comforting hum of hardworking computers. Deadlines do not take well to "error XYZ Ur Buggered) messages.  

You are probably thinking "Oh this lady is far too posh and expensive for our project". I'm not! I enjoy working on a variety of publications and media formats. Between my love for crossword puzzles and my home karaoke system (stop smirking), I am currently working on my first book and for reasons that will baffle me for years to come,

I am specialising in narrative non-fiction with a tinge of cynical humour and cringe-worthy honesty about my life - all 33 years of them. Don't ask... childhood dream and promise to my late mom.


 Didn't read the intro? Here's the v v shot version 


If you skimmed through the whole piece and would just like to get on with it: I take great pride in what I do and it's always rewarding to help a client complete a tight, affordable and stress free project. 

 Update: Voila! Magazine: April 2011


So long, 2008

Where did the time go?

29/06/2010 11:47
    I am aware that I have been MIA for some time now... unfortunately I had to leave Joburg in order to care for my mom who sadly passed in Feb last year. Words cannot describe the changes as a woman, and writer, that I have undergone. It has inspired me to finally start on my...


05/10/2009 14:27
I'm very excited and proud to report that I recently completed my second book for local author Dennis Hlubi. I have also been recruited by Australian/UK publishing company TNT Publications to manage their weekly newsletters. Thanks to technology, I am able to liaise with the UK team to produce two...

Welcome 2009

20/01/2009 12:40
A warm welcome to all my existing and potential clients. It is an honour to work with professionals who have the same goal in mind: producing quality copy.   May 2009 be a year of blessings, productivity and success.   Remember, there's a fine line between what's important and what's...

Dear clients...

17/12/2008 11:19
I'd like to wish all my clients a happy and safe festive season. Thank you for your loyal and continued support. Enjoy the break, forget about those deadlines and spend your time with the ones you love.   Charlotte

A first!

Working with Andrew P. Jones

11/11/2008 15:12
I recently completed a project for the American journalist, film producer, actor and musician, Andrew P. Jones. What a wild ride! His book, Barack Obama: American Savior or Judas Goat. Diary of a Mad Black Voter, took a mere two months to complete. I was given a manuscript and asked to...

Barack Obama: American Savior or Judas Goat

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Need a quote?

Email me at charlotte@degar.co.za



The bittersweet taste of success

22/10/2008 15:13
  I am continually amazed at the ever-changing twists and turns, the ebb and flow of life.   I recently completed my first book. Well, it's not quite my own book (mine has been a work in progress for four years now). Two months ago an American author contacted me and I was contracted to edit and manage his book. We had our first meeting on 5 September 2008. Now, after just over a month later, the book is being printed as I'm writing this. It’s really...

Spreading the word

21/07/2008 18:22
Dickens wrote, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...". I think Mr. Dickens had some experience in freelancing! Hard work, late hours and some valuable input from Jo Duxbury of www.freelancentral.co.za  is finally paying off. Thank you to my new and existing clients for your continued and loyal support.   August is looking brighter by the day with a number of new projects in the pipeline. I will soon be attending the Flying Solo Unconference in...

Erotica, the American and the Newcomer

02/07/2008 14:49
Type in the words "freelance copy editors" on Google, and you'll end up with 2,210, 000 results.   Daunting for clients, even more for a relatively new freelancer like myself! I recently came across a website that offers freelancers a go at nearly every job imaginable. This international site even offers jobs for freelance erotica writers. Now, I would've jumped at the job, working on a work = money basis, but gladly (or sadly, perhaps) my skills don't include writing steamy stories...

FreelanceCentral hits the nail on the head

02/07/2008 14:42
    The popular South African freelance website, www.freelancentral.co.za recently released the results of their online survey. The results are both hilarious, and true! Click here to read the article as it appeared on www.bizcommunity.com


02/07/2008 13:45
Thanks to the growing number of Compose Yourself! clients, I have extended my services to include the following:   Dissertations Press Releases Web Editing  Web Backend Content Management