Re: Editing, Smediting

Subject: Re: Editing, Smediting
From: Jill Burgchardt <jburgcha -at- PESTILENCE -dot- FTC -dot- NRCS -dot- USDA -dot- GOV>
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 1997 09:18:29 -0600


I am also uncomfortable editing my own work. It's so much easier to see things on other people's
prose. However, I know my own writing is far from perfect so I have devised some methods to
help me catch most of the errors. Basically, I create a checklist of things that I methodically check in
each of my documents. Here's a list of the type of things that I include on the list:

1. Do search with spell checker for the words I know I commonly misuse.
2. Do search with spell checker for all the nonstandard phrases that we don't want to use.
3. Check all headers for font size and type.
4. Check all footers for font size and type.
5. Check style of callouts on all graphics.
6. . . .

You get the general idea. My list is several pages long. By consciously checking for things that I know
might creep into my documents I am able to catch most of them. I go through and check for these
problems one at a time. It's time-consuming and I don't do it for every draft. Or, if I've made several
changes to footnotes or one specific part of the document, I may just go through my list for footnotes or
just through that document section. I also use my spell checker. A good grammar checker is also
helpful. If you're stuck with one of the older, cumbersome grammar checkers, you may find the
search feature in your spell checker can be a wonderful substitute. (I hated the way early grammar
checkers would stop at everything, so I came up with this as a workaround. For example,
I would search for all forms of the verb to be, because I really wanted to catch passive voice. I found
this much quicker and generally as satisfactory as using the grammar checker. ) I recently decided to
give grammar checkers another chance, however, and discovered they've gotten much better so I'm
back to using one.

Hope this is helpful.
Jill Burgchardt
jburgcha -at- PESTILENCE -dot- FTC -dot- NRCS -dot- USDA -dot- GOV

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