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Wordsmith Background

At Vital Wordplay, I offer an eagle eye and a big picture vision approach as an editor, while drawing on skills as an award-winning writer to ensure content is engaging and accessible. I bring 21 years of experience to editing and proofreading nonfiction for publishing houses such as W.W. Norton and MIT Press, and for self-published authors of everything from memoirs to books on health, New Age spirituality, and sustainability. I also edit or proof magazines, annual reports, and other content for The Nature Conservancy, engineering institutes and other clients.

My word nerd tendency was fostered by growing up in the Midwest among rambunctious brothers. I spent 19 years helping research faculty effectively present their work in print and digital media. I have certificate degrees in science communication and copyediting (acing the 120-plus hour copyediting program at UC, San Diego). My interests range from conservation topics, to mindfulness, psychology, self-development and sustainability -- basically, the intersection of science and medicine with all things healthy living. 

I ran a creative nonfiction group for several years, in addition to judging three nonfiction book competitions in Texas and nationally. Providing manuscript and book proposal reviews is another interest, and I ghostwrite book proposals and long-form content (see CV and below for more details). 

Barbra Rodriguez 


A Scribe's Life

I began as a medical writer after interning at The Dallas Morning News and the Kansas City Star. Those internships taught me to write tight, get the facts right, and always keep readers’ needs in mind. My stories often focus on healthy living topics, including covering conservation and public health developments, diversity initiatives, and sustainable landscape design.

I have received writing awards for articles about health and conservation topics (National Mature Media, National Health Information, and Best of Texas Feature Writing). I have also received journalism travel fellowships for a national meeting of conservationists, and an international meeting of science journalists.

My travels have taken me to Japan and elsewhere to train in Aikido, a mindfulness-related martial art. I am also fascinated by human behavior and spiritual development, and my most recent volunteering activities have involved helping with a therapeutic horsemanship group in Central Texas, and teaching Aikido to college students for over a decade.

Learn writing details from my CV and the Writings page.


I truly enjoyed working with Barbra. Her attention to detail and suggestions exceeded my expectations. Initially she started by copyediting and proofreading my memoir, but after working through my initial manuscript and seeing its potential, she gave me some recommendations on where we could improve the project. We decided to continue the work and through additional developmental editing we created a new manuscript that vastly improved the book. All I can say is that I’m grateful for her suggestions! I am thankful for her enthusiasm and willingness to immerse herself in the subject of my book. I strongly recommend Barbra!

Roman Castilleja, Rowing Home memoir