Notes from “Editor Elf”

elf for health 2013

I am enjoying my second year of being an “Elf 4 Health.” Our assignment for Wednesday of this “Elf Week” is to “share expertise.”ย Let’s go with what I love discussing: writing!

Notes From Editor Elf

  • To proofread, read your piece out loud. That forces your brain to pay attention to each word. It also helps you determine if your piece sounds “natural” instead of stilted.
  • To proofread even more effectively, read your piece backwards. That breaks up the cadence of the sentences and (again) forces you to pay attention to each word.
  • Spellcheck is a good thing, but it in no way is the only thing. (I for instance once referred to “United Health Plan” as “Untied Health Plan,” on a business letter, something that would not be caught by spellcheck.) That’s why there are strategies like reading backwards and out loud.
  • Great writing does not necessarily take great big words. Simple trumps “fancy,” almost every time.
  • Read often. Read things you normally would not gravitate towards. This helps acquaint you with new vocabulary words, new ways of phrasing passages, and different angles from which to process the written word.
  • Read in different ways. If you always read books on paper, consider an audiobook. If you are a kindle person, reacquaint yourself with the feel of paper in your hands. If you are an “only” paper reader, take a whirl with an e-reader (it’s pretty cool how it holds your place for you and can adjust the font to be easier on your eyesight). Enthusiastic readers make more effective writers.

And although as a grammar curmudgeon it pains me to say it, if hang ups about grammar and rules are keeping you from committing thoughts to paper, just write. Sharing your thoughts (with yourself, with an audience, with your cat) takes precedence.

I agree with Maya Angelou, who said, “โ€œThere is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.โ€

(Before I wind this post up, I’d like to give an elfin shout-out to my partner elf for this two weeks, Alison! I have quickly become intrigued by her blog, her social media presence, and her enthusiasm for faith, family, and fitness. Check out her blog, Daily Moves and Grooves, here.)

What’s your story? Tell me a little in the comments!

16 thoughts on “Notes from “Editor Elf”

  1. Paula, thank you for sharing your expertise! I’m definitely going to try reading my posts backwards when proofreading (although it does sound painful)! What I love about reading lots of different blogs is how much the tone and style change due to the writer, even when the subject matter is similar. I think it’s helped me ‘find’ my own writing style.

  2. Thanks for the tips! I’m incredibly unselfconscious about my grammar, but one day I’ll just write and not worry about it ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Pingback: Getting All Dressed Up When There’s SOMEWHERE To Go! | Perspicacity

  4. Pingback: PROM DRESS SHOPPING FOR GIRLS 2014 | 2014 DressFirst fansion

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.