When Software Hinders Your Writing, Try This Easy Trick

C’mon, you can do better.

A keystroke or mouse click opens up a window that accesses the Internet so you can find and play a distracting video… And the next thing you know, it’s 20 minutes later.

There are three words of a sentence on the screen in front of you, and you can’t even begin to remember where you were going with it.

Sound familiar? Are you futzing with fonts and messing with margins—when the truth is that it doesn’t even make a difference? You may need to slim down your word processing functionality and steer it back to doing not much more than… processing words!

One easy trick, then, is to simply get rid of the bells and whistles. Allow me to explain. Continue reading “When Software Hinders Your Writing, Try This Easy Trick”

Does Being a Writer Put Your Health at Risk? It’s Time to Take a Break.

(Photo: Michael Simons)
Sitting down at work all day could be hazardous to your health. (Photo: Michael Simons)

Your rear end may be trying to tell you something important about your ability to get more writing done—but you need to stop for a moment and listen.

Do you sit down to write, and then sit there—on your butt—until you’re done writing… a lot of words and several hours later? Continue reading “Does Being a Writer Put Your Health at Risk? It’s Time to Take a Break.”

Proofreaders? Copy Editors? What’s the Difference? (And Why Should You Care?)

(Photo: stillfx)
Time to break out the red pencil. (Photo: stillfx)

If you can remember a time when you were not being asked to do more with less, you may also recall that once upon a time in the world of publishing, a piece of writing was reviewed by two people possessing distinct editorial skills.

Yes, the job of a proofreader was different from that of a copy editor. Continue reading “Proofreaders? Copy Editors? What’s the Difference? (And Why Should You Care?)”

Is It 2 or Two? Generally Accepted Style for Numerals

(Photo: Milosh Kojadinovich)
It’s common to spell out the numbers one through nine. (Photo: Milosh Kojadinovich)

Sooner or later you’ll need to express numbers in your writing. So, should they be written out in words or as figures?

Does it surprise you that the answer is: “It depends…”?

Good luck finding standard rules for expressing numbers and numerals across all types of writing. To complicate matters further, the rules change depending on what part of the planet you call home.

Numerical diversity notwithstanding, there are some rules applicable to general writing that most copy editors in the United States agree should be followed. Continue reading “Is It 2 or Two? Generally Accepted Style for Numerals”

Circumlocutions: When Writing Tries to Take the Long Way Home

(Photo: Eunika Sopotnicka)
Taking the scenic route. (Photo: Eunika Sopotnicka)

Circumlocutions are common expressions that take several words to say.

“At this point in time” is a circumlocution. It sounds fine—and that’s what usually gives it away as a circumlocution: It comes up in speech, where it’s fine to be verbose. However, in writing, less is more. Continue reading “Circumlocutions: When Writing Tries to Take the Long Way Home”