By Alison Lueders
While working, I rarely pause to think about all the different resources I call on in the course of a day. But one of the things I like most about web editing is the variety of questions that pop up – how DO you spell that? is that the right word to use? what IS a blitzheimer? – and all the different places to go to find answers. These include the basics like a dictionary and a thesaurus, but also Google and Wikipedia when I need to know more about a subject.
For some of the finer points of editing, I may go to a book like Copyediting & Proofreading for Dummies. I find the title embarrassing, but the book itself useful. More often, I check out Copyeditor.com (which costs $79 to for a basic membership) or Grammar Girl, which is free. Two recent tips from Copyeditor.com covered “Setting Editing Expectations” and “Defining an Editing Project“. I tip my hat to Erin Brenner, the Editor of Copyediting at Copyeditor.com., for these helpful summaries. And no, I am not a marketing affiliate for either of these organizations.
Other web editors are a terrific resource. Aside from the other members of the Web Editors Blog community, I have contacted all kinds of people through LinkedIn. More often than not they DO respond and I learn something new. For all the wonderful tools at our fingertips, it’s often people who often have the most up-to-date knowledge or expertise on a particular issue.
The most precious resource for web editing is time – time in which to think, to refine, to catch errors. Alan Eggleston wrote in a blog earlier this month about the “rush to publish“, which I suspect is a challenge for all of us. But just as there are movements out there around “slow food” and “slow money“, I try to practice “slow editing”. I tell clients – diplomatically – that their writing errors are often the result of rushing, and therefore I read their words slowly and attentively. It is a part of the value I bring. Not everyone wants that, and that’s OK.
What “tools of the trade” do you turn to on a regular (or even infrequent) basis? I suspect there are hidden gems out there that could benefit us all.
Next month, along with some of my fellow bloggers, I’ll offer thoughts geared to a “graduation” theme. Stay tuned!