10 Writing and Editing Tips from an Amateur Editor

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

In the midst of the pandemic, I made a lot of impulsive decisions regarding money. More specifically, about how to make money. I wasn’t working and couldn’t go back, but I wanted to contribute to the household expenses in some way, so, lightbulb moment, I thought, why not try to market myself as a freelance editor? I’m a good writer and an even better editor, and it’d be a great way to use my skills while working in an industry that (probably) wouldn’t make me want to step off a bridge.

Not unexpectedly, it failed. Horribly

I didn’t account for the fact that, while I have 20+ years of writing experience, I have zero years of formal editing experience and no degree to back me up. I’m not surprised no one wanted to hire me. I wouldn’t have wanted to hire me. It stings a little, though, because I know I’d be good at it.

Maybe it’s something I can pursue later in my life. For now, I guess I’ll just have to continue giving editing advice for free.

Continue reading “10 Writing and Editing Tips from an Amateur Editor”

5 Often Overlooked Writing Errors

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

Before I begin, I just want to say this post is not meant to demean anyone. People make mistakes and that’s okay. Even the best writers throughout history weren’t perfect. My intention for this post is to be more of a teaching tool than anything else.

What right have you to be lecturing us?” you might ask. The truth is, I don’t. As much as I’d love to be a professional editor, I’m not. Not yet. I did, however, ace all my grammar classes, and my writing is typically free of errors. If one does manage to squeeze through, I always go back to edit it.

I’m a perfectionist like that.

So, without further ado, in no particular order, here are five of my biggest pet peeves. They are all accompanied by a short grammar lesson, which you are free to ignore, mock, or use at your discretion.

Continue reading “5 Often Overlooked Writing Errors”

House Cleaning

I’ve made some changes around here! Finally, my website reflects the new, married me. As do all my social media links, and let me tell you, it was not easy to change over. My married name is ten times more common than my maiden name, and it took me dozens of tries to find usernames that work. I never used to like my maiden name, but it was, at least, distinguishing.

The name of my website isn’t the only thing that’s changed. I began this site to launch a freelance editing career, but that has fallen by the wayside. I admit, I was naïve and very ignorant to how hard it actually is to break into the market. I realize now, it might not be something that’s achievable for me. At least, not without a degree and experience to back me up. Though I have confidence in my ability to help authors, I know it’s my word against…nothing.

I’d still like to offer editing services to those in need of it, especially to freelance or up-and-coming authors who need an editor but can’t pay the exorbitant prices of established editors. If that’s you or someone you know, let’s chat! I’d love nothing more than to assist you.

But editing is not the focus of this website anymore. It hasn’t been for a long time.

In the past year, I’ve come to a realization. One I never truly believed I would reach. It turns out, I CAN make a splash in the literary world, that my poetry IS something publishers are interested in, and that’s become my main focus. I’ve had three poems published, one in an acclaimed literary magazine, and I just sent out a micro-chapbook to a contest. I can’t say whether or not I’ll win, but I am confident in the quality of the chapbook. If it doesn’t win the contest, there are other avenues I’d like to explore with it.

I’m loving falling in love with poetry again and gaining more confidence in my writing. And that’s what I’d like to focus on now. I hope this only means good things for my career as a poet.

Writing & Editing Tips #1

Let’s talk about brain fog. It’s the pits, right?

Every writer has experienced it at some point. During the writing process, it may manifest as an absence of thought—the fog obscures the next word, the next thought, the next scene. Helplessness sets in and frustration mounts.

If this happens, I suggest walking away for a little while. Stretch, get something to drink, take a shower—some of my best writing breakthroughs have occurred in the shower. Do whatever is needed to clear the mind, to blow the fog away, and return to work feeling settled and, hopefully, motivated.

During the editing phase, brain fog can look a little different. Instead of an absence of words, suddenly there’s too many! Eyes cross and brains melt. Things start to blur together. Separate words lose all meaning, sentences become paragraphs, and paragraphs become even longer paragraphs.

In some ways, I find editing and proofreading to be more frustrating than writing. The words are all there, yes, but making them behave can be tricky. Typos and grammatical errors are especially difficult because they’re so easily missed.

Our eyes become adjusted to seeing the same thing over and over. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I’ve read the same paragraph numerous times and missed a misused homonym or misspelled word because my brain didn’t register it. It’s like they simply faded into the background and ceased to exist.

To counter this, I now change the font type and size whenever I’m ready to proofread something. Doing so has made it easier to catch those pesky typos and punctuation errors. How could it not, when they were staring back at me in font size 18?

Suggested font type? Comic Sans. Annoyance is a great motivator to get work done faster.