Headings are usually just a few words each, but they can play a vital role in your document’s success. Their most important function is helping readers navigate your content. (No one benefits when readers are cast adrift!) And when headings are constructed with parallel structure, they also enforce consistency throughout your content and demonstrate attention to good writing … [Read more...] about Polish Your Headings with Parallel Structure
“What Is a Style Guide” defined style guides and explained their purpose. Today’s post offers suggestions to help you decide when you should—and shouldn’t—create a custom style instead of following your primary style guide when dealing with an atypical writing issue. In this case, an atypical issue can be anything from the capitalization of product descriptions to the … [Read more...] about When Should You Use a Custom Writing Style Instead of a Style Guide?
At the end of my last post, “Block Quotations, Part 3—Block Quotation Issues and Concerns,” I mentioned that my next post would outline valid reasons to (gasp!) ignore your style guide. However, I have decided to put that topic on hold until next week in order to offer a brief primer on the definition and purpose of style guides. What Is a Style Guide? Writing style guides … [Read more...] about What Is a Style Guide?
As a business and nonfiction copy editor, I provide unvarnished (but still polite) writing advice for my clients. But another part of my job is less direct: I talk with people about their relationship with writing so that I can customize my approach to their professional or personal needs. Unsurprisingly, many people have negative feelings about writing because they have … [Read more...] about Six Tips for Handling Unwanted Writing Advice
Throughout this how-to series, we've explored various editing services and ways to find editors online and through professional organizations. We've also discussed the finer points of interviewing and hiring editors. Let's wrap things up with five tips for working with your editor so that you can make the most of your editing experience: 1. Document everything. As mentioned … [Read more...] about How to Hire an Editor, Part 3: Tips for Working with Your Editor
Over the past several weeks, we've discussed different types of services provided by freelance editors and how to find editors through Internet searches and professional organizations. Today, we'll cover the final phases of the hiring process: interviewing an editor, discussing payment, and establishing a schedule. Interviewing an Editor Once you've narrowed down your search … [Read more...] about How to Hire an Editor, Part 2: Interviews, Payments, and Schedules
Last week we talked about the different types of editing services provided by freelance editors: developmental editing, substantive editing, copyediting, and proofreading. Today we'll get down to the nitty-gritty of how to hire an editor or editors for your project. Deciding What You Need Will Help You Figure Out Whom You Need In a perfect world, every writer would hire a … [Read more...] about How to Hire an Editor, Part 1: Where to Find an Editor
A reader recently asked me to explain the different types of editors available to help her with her book. Although I have mentioned several types of editing services on my FAQs page, I thought I'd delve into the subject a bit more deeply here—after all, I'm always happy to oblige my readers! The four basic types of editors are developmental, substantive, copy, and … [Read more...] about Different Types of Editors
Editing our own writing may not be easy, but it is generally a walk in the park sipping an iced latte compared to the difficulty of editing another person's writing, particularly if that person is a coworker, friend, or relative. Here are six tips to take the sting out of editing other people's writing. 1. Ask the writer what he or she expects from you. Should you offer … [Read more...] about Six Tips for Editing Other People’s Writing
Last week's post discussed the benefits of style guides for business writing. Today, I'll look at the individual topics you may want to include in your own guide. But first, I'd like to share a quick disclaimer: Your guide should be an expression of your business goals, strategies, and yes, style. Therefore, it should be customized to your needs. There's no reason to bloat your … [Read more...] about In-House Style Guides for Small Businesses, Part 2— Selecting Topics
As a freelance copy editor and writer, I frequently talk with business owners who are overwhelmed and frustrated by the time-intensive process of creating new content, including marketing material, web copy, and blog posts. If your business is feeling a similar pinch, consider creating an in-house style guide that answers your most common grammar, format, and style … [Read more...] about In-House Style Guides for Small Businesses, Part 1— Benefits and Preparation