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.” 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, ““There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

(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!

Wordless Wednesday

@biggreenpen is seeing RED again:
True, it’s “citizen journalism,” but it’s still important to know your correspondence materials apart from your objects that stay in one place!
And, since it’s more important to respect the lives lost during the Nashville flooding than it is to quibble about spelling, I won’t make you all guess about what the error is (like I usually do).  Here’s a picture of the shop referenced in the article, as the flood waters encroach:
Here are a couple of ways to help Nashvillians cope with this disaster:
Text REDCROSS to “90999” to give $10
Visit the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to donate or get information
You can remain stationary on your couch and drop friends a note on stationery letting them know you helped!