Posts Tagged ‘editing’

1. “You don’t have to know.” (From my friend Tracy Shilcutt, who was listening to me freak out about what to do with my life after college graduation.)
2. “Give yourself something to look forward to every day.” (From the ever-wise Jacque, on combating boredom and loneliness.)
3. “Go home at five o’clock. The work will wait for you.” (From Glenn, my supervisor at my first grown-up job.)
4. “Use real butter.” (From Julie, and Julia Child, and many other good cooks.)
5. “There is no judgment or competition in yoga.” (From the lovely McKay, yoga teacher extraordinaire.)
6. “Throw your hat in the ring.” (From Tara Austen Weaver, aka Tea.)
7. “Fresh herbs make everything better.” (Jon has never said that, to my knowledge, but he uses fresh herbs in his delicious dishes whenever he can.)
8. From my mom: “If you don’t love it, don’t buy it.” “Stand up straight.” “Put an avocado pit into guacamole to keep it from turning brown.” “Plan ahead.” “At least try to look nice.”
9. “Real writers can’t not write.” (From Al Haley, my college creative writing professor.)
10. “You can do anything for one more week.” (From my friend Frankie – helpful in either surviving crisis mode or just sticking it out.)
11. “Keep your elbow in!” (From Cole, while swing dancing.)
12. “Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want.” (From the ever-wise Mr. Walker, teacher, advisor and mentor extraordinaire.)
13. “Proofread everything.” And other editing advice, from Ron.
14. From my dad: “The male ego is a fragile thing.”

What advice do you cherish? We can all certainly use a few wise words.

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I’ve worked with Ron Hadfield, editor extraordinaire, off and on in various capacities since 2005. I was his student worker, then later his associate editor/right-hand writer, and now I’m one of his freelancers. I’ve spent a lot of time reading his edits and learning from him. And I have inherited lots of his editing tics/pet peeves (some of them passed down in turn from Dr. Charlie Marler, the patriarch of journalism at ACU). Here they are:

1. I hate the word “that,” and try to eliminate it when possible.
2. I hate “widows” – single words on a line – and will often re-jigger text to make them disappear.
3. I have a disdain for over-capitalized “alphabet soup” – e.g., Associate Professor of Important Things in the Department of This and That.
4. I prefer “smart” (curved) quotes over straight-line ones.
5. I proofread EVERYTHING. Sometimes twice.

I’ve also inherited a few other editing tics:
6. Use exclamation points sparingly. (from Al Haley, my creative writing teacher)
7. Use italics sparingly. (also from Al)
8. Never leave a naked “this” – always clarify it. (From a high school English teacher I rather despised – this lesson is the only useful thing I remember from her class.)

Anyone else? I know some of you are writers/fellow English majors/former journalism majors. Bring on your editing tics and pet peeves!

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