Editing in written communication mba


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Editing in written communication mba

  1. 1. EditingEditing is the process of selecting and preparing language, images, sound, video, or film through processes ofcorrection, condensation, organization, and other modifications in various media.Terms:Edit: The modification/ changes to be made.Editing: Process of making the changes/ modification.Editor: A person who does the modifications/ changes.In a sense, the editing process originates with the idea for the work itself and continues in the relationshipbetween the author and the editor. Editing is, therefore, also a practice that includes creative skills, humanrelations, and a precise set of methods.Print mediaThere are various editorial positions in publishing. Typically, one finds junior editorial assistants reporting to thesenior-level editorial staff and directors who report to senior executive editors. Senior executive editors areresponsible for developing a product to its final release. The smaller the publication, the more these roles runtogether.Copy editors correct spelling, grammar, and matters of house style. At newspapers and wire services, they alsowrite headlines and work on more-substantive issues, such as accuracy, fairness and taste. In some positions, theydesign pages and select of news stories for inclusion. At UK and Australian newspapers, the term is "sub-editor."They may choose the layout of the publication and communicate with the printer—a production editor. This andsimilar jobs are also called "layout editor," "design editor," "news designer," or—more so in the past—"makeupeditor."Midlevel newspaper editors often manage or help manage sections, such as business, sports and features.Generally the level below the top/ resident editor usually is the managing editor.The title of the top editor at many publications may be called an editor in chief, executive editor, resident editor oreditor. Frequent and esteemed contributors to a magazine may acquire a title of editor at-large or contributingeditorFunctions/ Kinds of editor in the book publishing industry: 1. Editors organize anthologies and other compilations, produce definitive editions of a classic authors works; 2. Organize and manage contributions to a multi-author book. 3. Finding marketable ideas and presenting them to appropriate authors are the responsibility of a sponsoring editor. 4. Obtaining copy or recruiting authors such as: an acquisitions editor or a commissioning editor for a publishing house. 5. Improving an authors writing so that they indeed say what they mean to say in an effective manner is substantive editing. Depending on the writers competence, this editing can sometimes turn into ghost writing. Substantive editing is seldom a title.
  2. 2. Many types of editors do this type of work, either in-house at a publisher or on an independent basis.Changes to the publishing industry since the 1980s have resulted in nearly all copy editing of book manuscriptsbeing outsourced to freelance copy editors.Types of Editing (Print only) : Light edits, heavy edits, and derivative worksA "light edit" otherwise known as a "minor change" may be regarded as changes that do not substantively changethe theme, pace, tone, structure, characters, or other elements of intellectual property that are held by theauthor. Such changes would include spelling, or grammar in a way that does not deviate from the authors use of,say, non-standard grammar or speech patterns.A "heavy edit" may change substantively the tone, structure, characters, or other elements of intellectual propertycontained in the work.Executive editorThe top editor sometimes has the title executive editor or editor-in-chief. This person is generally responsible forthe content of the publication. An exception is that large newspapers usually have a separate editor for theeditorials and opinion pages to separate news reporting and editorial content.The executive editor sets the publication standards for performance, as well as for motivating and developing thestaff. The executive editor is also responsible for developing and maintaining the publication budget. In concertwith the publisher and the operating committee, the executive editor is responsible for strategic and operationalplanning. The executive editor is effectively the head of the newspaper and has considerable influence on itscontent.Scholarly books and journalsEditors of scholarly books and journals are of three types, each with particular responsibilities: 1. The acquisitions editor or commissioning editor, who contracts with the author to produce the copy 2. The project editor or production editor, who sees the copy through its stages from manuscript through bound book and usually assumes most of the budget and scheduled responsibilities 3. The copy editor or manuscript editor, who performs the tasks of readying the copy for conversion into printed formThe primary difference between copy editing scholarly books and journals and other sorts of copy editing lies inapplying the standards of the publisher to the copy. Most scholarly publishers have a preferred style guide, usuallya combination of Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary and style manuals of the publisher/ author. Sincescholars often have strong preferences, very often a publisher will adopt different styles for different fields. Forinstance, psychologists prefer the APA style, while linguists might prefer the MLA style. These guidelines offersound advice on making cited sources complete and correct and making the presentation scholarly.Technical editingTechnical editing involves reviewing text written on a technical topic, and identifying errors related to the use oflanguage in general or adherence to a specific style guide.
  3. 3. Technical editing may include any of the following: correction of grammatical mistakes, misspellings, mistyping,incorrect punctuation, inconsistencies in usages, poorly structured sentences, wrong scientific terms, wrong unitsand dimensions, inconsistency in significant figures, technical ambivalence, technical disambiguation, correction ofstatements conflicting with general scientific knowledge, correction of synopsis, content, index, headings andsubheadings, correcting data and chart presentation in a research paper or report, correcting errors in citations.This activity ensures that documentation is of good quality. In large companies, experienced writers are dedicatedto the technical editing function. In organizations that cannot afford dedicated editors, experienced writerstypically peer-edit text produced by their relatively less experienced colleagues.It helps if the technical editor is familiar with the subject being edited, but that is not always essential. Thetechnical knowledge that an editor gains over time while working on a particular product or technology does givethe editor an edge over another who has just started editing content related to that product or technology. In thelong run, however, the skills that really matter are attention to detail, the ability to sustain focus while workingthrough lengthy pieces of text on complex topics, tact in dealing with writers, and excellent communication skills.Revising is also another form of editing. It is looking for awkward sentences, run-on sentences, and in general partsof the paper that dont make sense to the editor. Usually the writer revises his/her copy before turning it in.Business editingBusinesses and nonprofit organizations often use editors, who may be employees of a company, individualcontractors working on site at a clients office or independently off-site, or employees or partners in a specializedcopywriting agency. Working with writers inside or outside the business, such editors provide services such asproofreading, copy editing, line editing, developmental editing, editing for search engine optimization (SEO), etc.Copy editingCopy editing is the work that an editor does to improve the formatting, style and accuracy of text. Unlike generalediting, copy editing often does not involve changing the substance of the text. Copy refers to written ortypewritten text for typesetting, printing, or publication. Copy editing is done before proofreading, which is thelast step in the editorial cycle.Generally an editor who does this work is called a copy editor, and an organizations highest-ranking copy editor, orthe supervising editor of a group of copy editors, may be known as the copy chief, copy desk chief, or news editor.In book publishing in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world that follow UK nomenclature, the term copyeditor is used, but in newspaper and magazine publishing, the term is sub-editor (or the unhyphenated subeditor),commonly shortened to sub. The senior sub-editor on a title is frequently called the chief sub-editor. As the "sub"prefix suggests, copy editors typically have less authority than regular editors.The term copy editor may also be spelled as one word or in hyphenated form (copyedit and copy-edit). Thehyphenated form is especially common in the UK; in the U.S. newspaper field, using the two word form is morecommon.The "five Cs" summarize the copy editors job: Make the copy clear, correct, concise, complete, and consistent.Copy editors should make it say what it means, and mean what it says.Typically, copy editing involves correcting spelling, punctuation, grammar, terminology, jargon, and semantics, andensuring that the text adheres to the publishers style. They may shorten the text, to improve it or to fit lengthlimits. This is particularly so in periodical publishing, where copy must be cut to fit the layout, and the text changedto ensure there are no short lines.
  4. 4. Often, copy editors are also responsible for adding any "display copy", such as headlines, standardized headers andfooters, and photo captions. And although proofreading is a distinct task from copy editing, frequently it is oneperformed by copy editors.Copy editors are expected to ensure that the text flows, that it is sensible, fair, and accurate, and that any legalproblems have been addressed. If a passage is unclear or an assertion seems questionable, the copy editor may askthe writer to clarify it. Sometimes, the copy editor is the only person, other than the writer, to read an entire textbefore publication, and for this reason newspaper copy editors are considered the publications last line ofdefense.The role of the copy editor varies considerably from one publication to another. Some newspaper copy editorsselect stories from wire service copy; others use desktop publishing software to do design and layout work thatonce was the province of design and production specialists.Changes in the fieldTraditionally, the copy editor would read a printed or written manuscript, manually marking it with editorscorrection marks. Today, the manuscript is more often read on a computer display and corrections are entereddirectly.The nearly-universal adoption of computerised systems for editing and layout in newspapers and magazines hasalso led copy editors to become more involved in design and the technicalities of production. Technical knowledgeis therefore sometimes considered as important as writing ability, though this is more true in journalism than it isin book publishing. With the transformation of journalism in recent years, some news organizations are lowering [2]the emphasis on editing, though at the expense of copy quality. Hank Glamann, co-founder of the American CopyEditors Society, made the following observation about ads for copy editor positions at American newspapers:We want them to be skilled grammarians and wordsmiths and write bright and engaging headlines and must knowQuark. But, often, when push comes to shove, we will let every single one of those requirements slide except thelast one, because you have to know that in order to push the button at the appointed timeTraits, skills, and trainingBesides an excellent command of language, copy editors need broad general knowledge for spotting factual errors,good critical thinking skills in order to recognize inconsistencies, interpersonal skills for dealing with writers andother editors, attention to detail, and a sense of style. Also, they must establish priorities and balance a desire forperfection with the necessity to follow deadlines.Many copy editors have a college degree, often in journalism, the language the text is written in, orcommunications. Copy editing is often taught as a college journalism course, though its name varies.Less is More: Editing Your Business WritingThis is a business case for something we all do every day. Everyone edits everything all the time.Editing is a second look. Editing is as simple as reading email before you send it, to make sure that you includedeverything you want to say, and as complex as overhauling a book manuscript.If you dont consider email vital communication, and youre not writing a novel, do you need to think aboutediting? If you use written communication in any aspect of your business, yes. You do.
  5. 5. Misspelled words, grammatical errors and sloppy writing tell your reader that you either dont know better ordont care enough about them to communicate properly. Certainly not the message you want to send to yourcustomers or associates.Two types of editing are copy editing and content editing. Copy editing is proofreading - a check for spelling,grammar and typographical errors. Its making sure you spell a customers name correctly in your business letter.Its checking punctuation in your instructional design manuals. Copy editing ensures that your press releases andnewsletters go to print with commas in the right places, proper capitalization, and no misuse of their, there ortheyre.Content editing combines copy editing with an in-depth assessment of content and writing style. Content editingensures that all cited facts are validated (fact-checking) and properly referenced, and that quotes are accurate andcorrectly assigned.Content editing involves reworking the writing style with an eye toward precision, economy and flow. It ensuresthat your sales letters and promotional materials are easy to read, vibrant and compelling to your audience.We all conduct more business in writing and less in face to face meetings than we did even one year ago.Professional editing makes your writing as powerful as you need it to be.Composing and Editing Written CommunicationOverviewThis chapter gets to the basics of writing—choosing the right word, writing good sentences and paragraphs, andproofreading and editing work. These are basic skills that all administrative assistants should possess; referencemanuals are available and should be used.Lecture NotesA. Effective Word SelectionChoosing the word with the right meaning and impression is important in order to get the correct message to thereader. 1. Positive Language makes people want to read, think, and act. a. Focus on the reader by using pronouns like “you” and “your.” b. Limit the use of negative expressions in a message; avoid words using not, regret, unfortunately, apologize, neglect, and fail. 2. Tone refers to the manner in which a certain attitude is expressed; it should be friendly, conversational, and professional. 3. Familiar Words in a sentence make the message easier to understand. a. Synonyms that are commonly used should be substituted for unfamiliar words. b. Technical words should be avoided when you are speaking with someone outside of your profession who may not understand them; if they are necessary, be sure to explain them.
  6. 6. c. Use English equivalents for foreign expressions whenever possible. d. Jargon should not be used in business writing. e. Acronyms should be spelled out the first time they are used in a document. f. Slang should be avoided; the words cannot be translated easily. 4. Concrete Language refers to the use of words that are precise in meaning; abstract to those where meaning can be interpreted differently. a. A word or phrase may be added to an abstract word to define it more precisely. b. The abstract term may be defined in the sentence. c. Use the most specific word when it impacts the meaning. d. Short, simple words convey meaning more directly. 5. Active Words denote action by a performer. a. Active verbs convey precise meaning, the action happening. b. Active voice refers to an emphasis on the performer of the task and passive voice to an emphasis on the action being taken. c. Descriptive adjectives are also called key words or descriptors. d. Descriptive adverbs convey precise meanings. 6. Contemporary Words and Expressions make writing more relevant. 7. Confusing Words are words that sound similar, but they are spelled differently and have different meanings. Effective word selection between confusing words takes a lot of effort and practice. Be sure to review them with students so they can distinguish between them. 8. Unbiased Language should be used in business writing. a. Gender-free language should be used instead of masculine or feminine words; men and women should be treated equally. Avoid labels, stereotypes, and using “man” and “woman” as the prefix or suffix of a word. b. Racially and ethnically unbiased language should be used so that no member of the audience is offended. Identification of racial or ethnic origins should not appear in writing unless it is pertinent to the message. c. Job-related language should not stereotype different types of jobs held by people.B. Effective Sentence and Paragraph ConstructionCareful construction of sentences (20 words or less) and paragraphs (3-5 sentences) is important for them to beeffective.
  7. 7. 1. Constructing Effective Sentences means they should be a complete thought expressed as a subject andpredicate with words that are understandable. a. Errors in sentence construction like fragments, run-on sentences, and comma-splices should be avoided. Review each of these errors referring to the explanations on pp. 200-202. b. Types of sentences written should vary in type for interest; use a combination of simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. Review these sentence types referring to the explanations on pp. 202-204. c. Length of sentences should vary; they should average 15-20 words. d. Connectives should be used to join sentences with related ideas so the reader sees the connection. e. Sentence formats should be chosen to go along with the message; choose between a question or statement and what word might need to be emphasized.2. Organized Paragraphs represent the writer’s thoughts on a certain part of the topic. a. Writing approach for paragraphs should be chosen between a deductive (direct) and inductive (indirect). b. Paragraph composition should include an overview statement, supporting statements, and detail statements referring to the main idea.3. Criteria for Effective Sentences and Paragraphs should be examined using the following ideas. a. Coherence is demonstrated through consistency in style, word choice, and usage. The writer should pay attention to the stress on words, word choice and usage, and parallelism. b. Emphasis means that greater importance is placed on a particular fact or idea. It can be achieved with word choice and order, balancing items of equal value, restating pieces of information, and format of presentation. c. Unity suggests a coherent flow of ideas within sentences, within paragraphs, and between paragraphs. d. Concise writing is brief, yet comprehensive. It is achieved through planning prior to writing and revising the draft of the document. e. Variety in writing maintains the reader’s interest; variety can be achieved through word usage (a thesaurus is helpful), combination of sentence types, and appropriate message style. f. Clarity is accomplished by knowing the purpose and reviewing the message to be sure it relates to the purpose. g. Accuracy in message, format, and language is critical in any type of business writing.4. Development of Goodwill occurs when people work together, with others in their organization or outside,to create a positive, clear, and courteous communication climate. a. Considerateness for others when preparing a message will convey an interest in the reader. b. Empathy toward the reader shows understanding of the feelings or emotions of the reader; use the “you” approach. Be sure students know the difference between sympathy and empathy.
  8. 8. c. Courtesy for the reader can be demonstrated by using terms like please and thank you where applicable. d. Sincerity expresses confidence and trust in others; it must be genuine. e. Respect should be shown to the company, products, and reader of the message so that the reader responds in a positive way.C. Proofreading and EditingProofreading and editing is one of the most important responsibilities of an administrative assistant; all finaldocuments should be error-free. The quality of the outgoing documents sends an impression to the reader; error-free documents make a positive impression. Throughout this section, emphasize the importance of proofreadingand editing. 1. Proofreading Techniques can be applied to a document on-screen or on paper; they include looking for spelling, punctuation, and formatting mistakes. a. Proofreading for typographical errors should go beyond spell check. Be sure to explain that spell check just finds words that it doesn’t recognize in its dictionary; if the mistake represents a real word, it will not be highlighted. b. Proofreading by office professionals besides the originator of the document is important; if possible, read aloud to another person to check for errors. c. Proofreading techniques include reading the copy slowly, using a straight-edge to follow the lines of copy, proofreading tables vertically, counting entries where possible, and delaying the final proofreading for an hour or more after keying is complete. d. Proofreading symbols should be used; they are displayed in figure 7-1 (p. 212). Explain that these symbols are recognized by people across many organizations. 2. Editing (copyediting) is the revision of a draft for consistency, conciseness, and grammatical accuracy. Revisions are marked manually in the text or using software tools. a. Preparing copy for editing means the document should be keyed in rough-draft format with space to allow for markings. b. Basic editing skills should be strong in areas of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and composition. Encourage students to make use of reference books in areas where they have questions. 3. Editing for Organization is the process of checking for clear and logical writing. a. Communication among team writers is necessary to develop a collaborative document. Communication may be face-to-face or electronically. b. Communication between the writer(s) and copy editor needs to be very clear and understood by both parties so that the topic and purpose of the document is understood. c. The writing approach should be clear to the copy editor; he or she should know if the author uses a direct or indirect approach.
  9. 9. d. The outline used by the writer can also be used by the copy editor to be sure they are both using the same approach. 4. Editing for Completeness and Content Accuracy is a tedious task, but it is a very important one. a. Looking it up in a reference manual is the way to find spelling, grammar, and punctuation rules as necessary. b. Checking and double-checking the document for accuracy in facts and structure may mean asking questions of the writer for clarification. c. Being consistent with grammar and punctuation rules is essential; it is also important to be observant of any inconsistencies and make corrections. d. Maintain the author’s writing style while editing; this skill develops as a writer works more with a particular copy editor. e. Document format is the first impression that a document gives the reader; use specific formatting guidelines for a professional appearance. f. Document appearance should be neat and attractive (and error-free) in its final format. 5. Use of Editing Software can save time, but it does not eliminate the need for manual proofreading and editing. a. Spell-check tools are available in all productivity software. They have the ability to update the dictionary; however, spell-check does not catch all errors.(Students must remember to proofread for spelling errors on their own too.) b. Grammar-check tools are available in word processing programs. Like using spell-check, emphasize that while they can be helpful, they do not reduce the need to check those things manually.c. Software editing tools may include highlighting changes, tracking changes in text, and collaborative writing options. Be sure users can utilize the options effectively before trying them on a document. 6. A Copyediting Style Sheet will display all the formatting points the author is expected to follow; it helps the editor maintain consistency throughout the document. 7. Students might find it helpful to have a summary sheet of proofreader’s marks to refer to at their desk when they are editing documents.Types of Editing and WritingProofreadingThe Edit Fast proofreader will check the following items:  Spelling, typos  Punctuation  Grammatical, typographical, and/or style errors will be corrected  Acronyms: Are they defined at first mention? If there is a list of acronyms, are all acronyms properly listed? Does the list entry match what is in the text?
  10. 10.  Line-break hyphenation  Page breaks  Figures and tables  Text footnotes  As well, the proofreader will be reading the manuscript with an editorial eye. If any passages are still particularly difficult to understand, some light copyediting will be done.  Of course, the specific requirements of each proofreading job vary. The editor will pay close attention to the objectives and duties as detailed by the EditFast administration and in accordance with the wishes of the client. Additional options such as checking references for proper formatting to a specific style (APA, Chicago Manual of style etc.) should be discussed with the editor and may incur additional charges.Copy EditingIncludes a proofreading plus:  Checking for consistency of mechanics and internal consistency of facts  Rewriting for promotional and/or advertising value  Marking head levels and approximate placement of art  May include providing or changing system of citations  Writing or editing captions and/or credit lines  May also include negotiating changes with author.  Of course, the specific requirements of each job may vary. The editor will pay close attention to the objectives and duties as detailed by the EditFast administration and in accordance with the wishes of the client.Substantial EditIncludes a proofreading plus:  Clarifying and/or reorganizing a manuscript for content, structure, meaning, eliminating jargon, smoothing language, and other non-mechanical line-by-line editing.  May include checking or correcting for reading level  Creating or recasting tables and/or figures  Of course, the specific requirements of each job may vary. The editor will pay close attention to the objectives and duties as detailed by the EditFast administration and in accordance with the wishes of the client.Complete RewriteIncludes a proofreading plus:  Creating a new manuscript or parts of a manuscript on the basis of content and research supplied by an author.  May include some research and writing of original material.  According to the needs of the author the document will be rewritten entirely making changes in structure, organization, grammar, word usage, and anything else that the editors feel is necessary to make the document professionally acceptable.  Research and fact checking will also be included if needed but the original purpose and the authors intent will be adhered to or enhanced.
  11. 11.  A complete rewrite will take more time and effort than any other type of editing but if you wish to present a polished, professional document ready for publication then this may be what the document needs.  Of course, the specific requirements of each job may vary. The editor will pay close attention to the objectives and duties as detailed by the EditFast administration and in accordance with the wishes of the client.IndexingProducing an alphabetical list of names and places and/or subjects and concepts, etc., that appear in a work andreferencing them to the page number where they appear in the manuscriptComplete RewriteAll the duties of a proofreader plus:  Creating a new manuscript or parts of a manuscript on the basis of content and research supplied by an author.  May include some research and writing of original material.  According to the needs of the author the document will be rewritten entirely making changes in structure, organization, grammar, word usage, and anything else that the editors feel is necessary to make the document professionally acceptable.  Research and fact checking will also be included if needed but the original purpose and the authors intent will be adhered to or enhanced.  A complete rewrite will take more time and effort than any other type of editing but if you wish to present a polished, professional document ready for publication then this may be what the document needs.  Of course, the specific requirements of each job may vary. The editor will pay close attention to the objectives and duties as detailed by the Edit Fast administration and in accordance with the wishes of the client.Copy EditingAll the duties of a proofreader plus:  Checking for consistency of mechanics and internal consistency of facts  Marking head levels and approximate placement of art  Notifying designer of any unusual production requirements  May include providing or changing system of citations  Writing or editing captions and/or credit lines  May also include negotiating changes with author.  Of course, the specific requirements of each job may vary. The editor will pay close attention to the objectives and duties as detailed by the Edit Fast administration and in accordance with the wishes of the client.Automatic Grammar Checking Can Let You DownDo you rely on automatic grammar checking when youve completed a piece of work? Grammar checking iscertainly important, as its one of the keys to making a good impression with your writing, but many people dontrealise how unreliable automatic grammar checking can be.
  12. 12. Most automatic grammar checking software is designed for business writing. This means that it can be particularlyunreliable for grammar checking in other kinds of writing, like fiction, or for situations in which youre using anunusual layout. Often grammar checking software is confused by repetition which is being used to emphasise apoint. Grammar checking software can also be confused by complex sentences.In some circumstances, grammar checking software can even create errors, for instance by deleting words insentences like "It was that that I liked best," where the second that is interpreted as a result of accidentalrepetition. If you do use grammar checking software its important to proof read the result.Rather than relying on grammar checking software to bring your writing up to professional levels, its a good ideato do your grammar checking yourself. If youre not too certain of your grammar checking abilities or if you want tobe certain that your work will make a good impression, consider employing a grammar checking professional.Youll be surprised by how affordable professional grammar checking can be.Professional grammar checking is the preferred solution for people who prioritise making a good impression.Automatic grammar checking should be used only for less important work, and you should always be aware thatyour automatic grammar checking software can let you down.Indexing of Manuals, Books, Reports, Web Sites, Textbooks, and more!Our professional indexers will create an index for you! Small jobs or large, skilled indexers make your workshine...and give it that extra sparkle!Fast, thorough, and consistent indexing of software manuals, hardware manuals, web sites, university textbooks,high school textbooks, reference books, government and business reports, and more!Editing of Business and Personal LettersEvery letter you write serves a specific purpose. Whether its to increase sales, improve communication withemployees, friends, or family, our job is to find the best way to achieve that purpose through the fine tuning andediting of your sales letters, promotional letters, business and personal letters of all kinds.Whether its a business letter or personal letter, you want your letters to convey exactly what you mean and nomore. That is the goal of our editing function, and our promise. We proofread and edit your letters to give themthat professional edge.We make your letters stand up and get noticed so that people will act upon them.Web Publishing: Making your Website Appeal to Search Engines and HumansEvery business owner with a website knows how difficult it can be to get that site seen. You can spend daysworking on your web publishing content, but its all for nothing if nobody visits your pages. Unfortunately, links oncorporate listing sites and simple search engine registration are not enough, in this day and age, to ensure thatyour web publishing content gets seen. What matters is, increasingly, the web publishing content itself.In the early days of website promotion, simple keywords were usually enough to get web publishing contentnoticed. But search engines have become more sophisticated at detecting and rejecting keyword-heavy articles,and too many keywords can make your web publishing content off-putting to human readers. Theres no point inmaking your website highly visible if its written in such an off-putting way that prospective customers leave assoon as they arrive. Its important to develop web publishing content which is readable for humans as well as
  13. 13. appealing to search engines.This is where a web publishing content specialist can help. Skilled at producing specialist content and familiar withthe algorithms which search engines use, a web publishing content specialist can sharpen up your site and make ita success. Gone are the days when a collection of links was sufficient to promote a product - now customers wantto read what you have to say. They want real content, and thats the basis on which theyll distinguish you fromyour competitors. So take a look at the range of web publishing content specialties which Edit Fasts writers haveto offer, and invest in your site in a way that can really make a difference.Page Check/ReviewThis is a final edit before publication to pick up any small typos and minor punctuation errors. A PageCheck/Review is the simplest form of edit and only includes a one-time read through of the document to find andcorrect any errors left over after previous edits.ProofreadingEdit Fasts professional, qualified, and tested proofreaders will be checking your documents for the followingthings: 1. Spelling, typos 2. Punctuation 3. Grammatical, typographical, or style errors will be corrected. 4. References: Are all cited references listed in bibliography? Are all bibliographical entries cited in the text? Does the bibliography follow the proper style and are its entries listed in proper alphabetical order? 5. Acronyms: Are they defined at first mention? If there is a list of acronyms, are all acronyms properly listed? Does the list entry match what is in the text? 6. Line-break hyphenation 7. Page breaks 8. Figures and tables 9. Text footnotes 10. Other formatting details (pagination, running heads, etc.).As well, the proofreader will be reading the manuscript with an "editorial eye." If any passages are still particularlydifficult to understand, some light copyediting will be done after discussion with the author if necessary.Of course, the specific requirements of each proofreading job vary. Discussions with the author will determine thespecifics for each proofreading project. The proofreader will pay close attention to the objectives and duties asdetailed by the Edit Fast administration and in accordance with the wishes of the author of the work.Let our proofreaders make your work shine!Substantial EditAll the duties of a proofreader plus:  Clarifying and/or reorganizing a manuscript for content, structure, meaning, eliminating jargon, smoothing language, and other non-mechanical line-by-line editing.  May include checking or correcting for reading level  Creating or recasting tables and/or figures
  14. 14.  Checking accuracy of facts and/or quotes by reference to original sources used by author and/or from other sources  Negotiating changes with author.  Of course, the specific requirements of each job may vary. The editor will pay close attention to the objectives and duties as detailed by the Edit Fast administration and in accordance with the wishes of the client.How much should you pay for Proofreading?Proofreading rates can be calculated in a number of different ways. Some proofreading rates are set by the pageand some by the hour. In the latter case, you should be able to get an estimate of how long its likely to take foryour document to be processed. Hourly proofreading rates can be generous when your document is simple to readand has been well prepared. If you have a complex piece of work which makes use of specialist vocabulary, youmay be better off selecting a professional who sets proofreading rates by the page.Preferences for Proof editor/ reader: 1. The editor database makes it easy to compare proofreading rates alongside the skills and expertise of different professionals. 2. Samples of individuals work in order to assess the quality of their proofreading. 3. Rates are clearly provided and easy to make sense of. Youll still find some variation, but most proofreading rates offered are similar, making it easier for you to base your choice on the particular experience and skill set offered. No matter what proofreading rates you settle for, you can be sure of good service at Edit Fast.A Good Relationship Means Good BusinessIn this day and age, when the success of a business depends in large part on the quality of its communications, oneof the most important skills a business needs is copywriting. Company structures being what they are, however,not every business is in a position to handle this internally. Its often much more practical to outsource work to aspecialist copywriting company. However, your business relationship with its copywriting company can be a makeor break factor - so how should you go about finding the right one?When youre entrusting strangers with such an important part of your business, its essential that you are able tofind out plenty about them and to communicate with them effectively at a person to person level. A goodcopywriting company will always be able to supply you with references to happy former clients as well as providingexamples of past work. You should also look for a copywriting company where you can form a good businessrelationship with particular individuals and be sure of being able to speak to the same people each time you get intouch.Edit Fast is a copywriting company with a difference. Its unique structure allows you to go directly to theprofessionals whose experience is best suited to the kind of work you need. A copywriting company like this cangive you the reassurance of a big institution and the intimacy of one-to-one communications, ensuring that you getexactly what youre looking for. So if youre in need of a copywriting company which can handle your work withreal understanding, Edit Fast could be for you.
  15. 15. Polish your Creative WritingWhen youve worked long and hard on a piece of creative writing, youll want it to look its best. Youll probablyseek out the services of an editor, especially if youre considering submitting your creative writing for publication.Unfortunately, the process of developing creative writing is not something which every editor understands. Howcan you find the right person to polish your work?Editing creative writing is a specialist skill because its important to preserve the imaginative intent of the originalauthor. Many of the people who produce creative writing have had bad experiences with editors who didntunderstand when, for instance, they were breaking traditional rules for artistic effect. Some feel that their creativewriting is compromised by being made too formal when all they really want is assistance with spelling andgrammatical mistakes and accidental inconsistencies. The latter can be a particular problem in longer pieces ofcreative writing where the author has become too familiar with the work to spot them, so editing is important, butequally important is finding the right editor.At Edit Fast youll find editors who specialise in dealing with creative writing. These people, many of whom havepublished creative writing themselves, will understand your concerns. Theyll be able to work closely with you toimprove the quality of your creative writing without interfering with its character. Theyll help you to produceprofessional quality creative writing capable of impressing publishers and readers alike, and theyll do it on yourterms.Its easy to find a creative writing editor using the Edit Fast database, so make it your first port of call when youwant to produce work which really shines.Copy EditingCopy editing is the process of making sure that the documents and publications you work on are clear and accuratethat no errors of fact, grammar, punctuation, or style get in the way of the intended message. During copy editing,the editor who does the work must ensure that the copy is clear, correct, concise, comprehensible and consistent.He also has to consider publishers house style.Copy editing seeks to correct the spelling errors and incorrect use of definite and indefinite articles among othererrors.Copy editing in the newspaper or publication business is known as the last check before the work goes to printing.Copy editing must ensure the document flow smoothly, sensibly, fairly, and accurately and ha it is not likely toprovoke legal problems that may result from cases of plagiarism and misstatements and other offences for thepublisher.During copy editing, the editor may make changes to the document or article, by cutting, either to fit or to trim it,either to fit broadcasting or publishing limits or to clarify the text meaning. Therefore the writer might find that thedocument has been changed drastically to fit the copy editors specifications.Copy editing is not the same as proof reading even though reading proof is part of the job. For one to be give thework of copy editing in most newspaper he or she must be highly qualified in journalism so that he can be inposition to come up with a perfect document and also discern the truth or whether the writer has plagiarized.Copy editing is the editorial work that an editor does to correct errors in grammar, spelling, usage and style, whichis a given publications guideline, as well as consistency in how words, phrases and typographical elements areused. In general, you can summarize copy editing as editorial work to ensure that any written publication is clear,correct, concise, comprehensible and consistent.
  16. 16. In addition to the above points, copy editing also covers the extent of the work. The editor ascertains whether thework is too long or too short. A solution is then sought from the publisher after determining this. Secondly, theeditor will also check the content and structure of the work to see whether it is logical. The sentences in the workshould also be short and uncomplicated. New paragraphs should introduce new ideas. Illustrations and tablesshould be suitable for printing and reproduction. All spellings of names of people and things should be checked.Copy editing also includes watching out for defamatory untruths that could lead in lawsuits- referred to as libel,breaches of copy right, obscenities and errors of facts. In addition, copy editing in some cases involves theomission of sections of text and rewriting the remainder for purposes of bridging the gaps created by the omission.Before the advent of computers, copy editing was done on a printed or written manuscript, by manually marking itwith the editors correction marks. However, with computers in place today, the manuscript is read on a computerdisplay and corrections done directly.Skills, traits and training in copy editing include: a broad general knowledge of the world (this is necessary so as tospot factual errors); an excellent command of language; good critical thinking skills, so as to recognize anyinconsistencies; and diplomacy to enable you deal with writersEditorial ServicesEditorial services are provided by editorial companies or freelance editors to add a better touch to your work.Editorial services are readily available online for people who would want to make use of these services. Editorialservices can be provided to businessmen, writers of literature e.g. fiction novels, students, institutions andcompanies and others.Editorial services include the following: acquisitions editing, Copyediting, Developmental editing, Fact checkingInformation design Indexing Page design Permissions editing Production editing Project editing ProofreadingTechnical editing. Al these services are provided by editors according to ones specifications.The reason one may need editorial services are numerous and varied. A professional editor will provide you withwork that is focused, written clearly and has appropriate tone for your audience. If it is a book he/she will makethe characters in your novel believable.Editorial services also provides you with a piece of work that is very precise and accurate. The manuscript will be inthe specified and proper format. The editorial services are also responsible for checking out on your grammar,punctuation, and spelling.Unlike your friends and teachers, who are likely to hide the truth from you, editorial services will provide you witha wiser counsel that is professional, yet truthful guidance through the often perplexing process of getting yourwork well done.Editorial services are therefore provided by professional who have a good command for English, good writing skills,high creativity skills, and have a good judgment of writing to make your work exceptionally great.Editorial CompaniesEditorial companies offer editorial services to people who want to add a professional finish or a unique voice to
  17. 17. their documents. They offer services to individuals, businessmen, small companies, and corporations. It is alwaysgood to have a second person check your work before it is finalized and you can approach editorial companies forthis service.Editorial companies often have a number of editors; some may be freelance editors who offer these services. Theeditors make sure that your text communicates to your target audience in a stylistic manner, with uniqueness andflair and free from any errors. Contracting with editorial companies make your writing standout and get noticed.Editorial companies work closely with you to reach your intended audience in a timely manner with focus andclarity. Editorial companies are strong supporters of proper English they will produce your work according to yourspecifications and guidelines. Editorial companies are readily available online to help you with your papers anddocuments. Editorial companies can help produce the best editorial material in the form of books, manuals,reports, newsletters, Web pages, product brochures, and much more! Editorial companies shoot for clear writingwith impact. Edit Fast is one of those companies.CopywritingThe process of strategically writing words that promote a person, idea, product, business or opinion is calledcopywriting. Copy writing may be used as a plain text, or a radio or television advertisement. It can also be used inother media. The objective of writing these words that promote a person or idea is to persuade the personwatching or listening to the advertisement or reading the text to act on the product you are advertising. Forinstance, you try to persuade them to buy a product or to subscribe to a certain view point. Apart from persuadinga person to act on the product or idea, copywriting can also be intended to dissuade a person from a certain beliefor action.Copywriting can include slogans, headlines, taglines, jingle lyrics, television or radio commercial scripts, pressreleases, internet, World Wide Web as well as other written material incorporated into advertising media. Copywritten material can contribute words or ideas to print advertisements, bill boards, commercials, brochures, postcards, online sites, e-mails, letters and other media used for advertising.Copywriting on websites may refer to the methods of writing used to achieve higher rankings in search engines. Itincludes strategic placement and writing key word phrases in certain frequencies and densities. As search enginealgorithms get smarter every day, the search engine optimization (SEO) has evolved to consider what others thinkabout the content, so as to write fluent and readable content that is of good quality and relevant.There are some principles that you can follow to ensure effective copywriting. These are outlined below.First thing in copywriting is to know your product. Youve got to know your product well and believe in it, as well asbe passionate about it. Otherwise, if you dont believe in your product, then why are you selling it? You shouldntsell something that you wouldnt buy yourself.Secondly, you should know your customer. You ought to know the kind of person you are targeting. You could findout their occupation, income range, age and sex. Such details will help you to tailor make your ad for the specificneeds of the customer.
  18. 18. In addition to the above principles, when copywriting, you should also stress the benefits of the product you areoffering, use catching headlines and powerful positive words. Also ensure that you use correct grammar, spellingand formatting.Ad copy writingAd copy writing is one of the best tools to use in the arsenal of a successful marketing plan. The content of anyadvertising copy should have the pulling power to be appealing and convincing to consumers. The challenge is tomake this great tool—ad copy writing—become a formula for conversions into sales.As an internet marketer well knows there are many variables that affect the ability of ad copy writing to work foryour business. A few of those variables are demographics, ad placements and even the mood of the consumers atthe time they view your ad copy writing.If you are an ad copy writer make sure that the content you write is always a stunning piece that you feel willdefinitely sell and sizzle. To help you accomplish this, here are some of the basic tips to help guide your creativethinking: 1. Know the basics of good advertising, such as grabbing attention, the promise of credible benefits, keeping interest and generating action. 2. Know the mediums to be used in ad copy writing; such as billboards, online ads, magazines, and newspaper full page ads. 3. Know the style of the advertising copy. The balance of readability and creativity should always be present in the ad copy you write, to keep it entertaining and persuasive for the consumers. 4. Give importance to the audience and avoid clichés if possible. If you are a writer who finds it difficult to avoid clichés, try to be more creative with the messages you want to communicate. Then try rephrasing the messages into something that is more personal and imaginative for the audience. Be fresh! 5. Whether an internet marketer trying for online success, or a writer wanting to improve your ad copy writing, remember that turning your powerful tools into sales takes imagination, perseverance and enthusiasm.With these attributes in your arsenal, your ad copy writing and your business is guaranteed to be a success.Powerful Ad Copy Writing TechniquesIf you are in the ad copy writing business, you realize the need to place a lot of importance on every single word.Ad copy writing is an art as well as a science. This article will focus on three techniques that are required for yourad copy writing practices. After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of what is required foreffective ad copy.First, make sure that you are writing for the customer, not for sales. The use of the word "you" will compel thereader and involve him in what you are saying. "You must do this!" See? Also, the reader wants to know thebenefits of the product or service you are selling. Hes not looking for a sales pitch. Tell him the benefits and tellhim why this product or service is better than the rest. You may want to present him with a certain problem andshow how this product or service solves that problem. Your ad copy writing will greatly improve if implement thisidea instead of providing a simple sales pitch.Second, write a compelling headline. When a potential reader glances at the headline of your article, you only havea few seconds to capture his attention. You must make sure that it is compelling and attractive. The headline can
  19. 19. also include a problem to incite the reader.Third, be creative. Make sure that your copy is not boring, but has a little pizzazz ("pizzazz" is a fun word, dont youthink?). You can tell your reader a shocking story or something that is memorable. Before you write, brainstormsome creative phrases that sell. Picture yourself walking a mile in your customers shoes before you write. Whatdoes he want in a product?These are just a few helpful tips that can greatly boost your ad copy writing. If you will implement these threethings on a regular basis you will see a significant boost in your sales.Writers blockWriters block is a condition, associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to producenew work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task athand. At the other extreme, some "blocked" writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some haveeven abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable,when in fact it could be the opposite.Causes of writers blockWriters block may have many or several causes. Some are essentially creative problems that originate within anauthors work itself. A writer may run out of inspiration. The writer may be greatly distracted and feel he or shemay have something that needs to be done beforehand. A project may be fundamentally misconceived, or beyondthe authors experience or ability. A fictional example can be found in George Orwells novel Keep The AspidistraFlying, in which the protagonist Gordon Comstock struggles in vain to complete an epic poem describing a day inLondon: "It was too big for him, that was the truth. It had never really progressed, it had simply fallen apart into aseries of fragments." Another fictional example can be found in the book "bag of bones" in which the protagonistsuffers from a writers block as well.Other blocks, especially the more serious kind, may be produced by adverse circumstances in a writers life orcareer: physical illness, depression, the end of a relationship, financial pressures, a sense of failure. The pressure toproduce work may in itself contribute to a writers block, especially if they are compelled to work in ways that areagainst their natural inclination, i.e. too fast or in some unsuitable style or genre. In some cases, writers block mayalso come from feeling intimidated by a previous big success, the creator putting on themselves a paralyzingpressure to find something to equate that same success again. The writer Elizabeth Gilbert, reflecting on her post-bestseller prospects, proposes that such a pressure might be released by interpreting creative writers as "having"genius rather than "being" a genius. In George Gissings New Grub Street, one of the first novels to take writersblock as a main theme, the novelist Edwin Reardon becomes completely unable to write and is shown as sufferingfrom all those problems.In her 2004 book The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writers Block, and the Creative Brain (ISBN9780618230655), the writer and neurologist Alice W. Flaherty has argued that literary creativity is a function ofspecific areas of the brain, and that block may be the result of brain activity being disrupted in those areasPopular mentions of writers blockWriters block is mentioned on various occasions in the 2006 film, Stranger Than Fiction. The character of KarenEiffel admits to suffering from writers block when she is having difficulty envisioning how to kill her books hero,Harold Crick.
  20. 20. It is also featured in the "psychological action thriller" survival horror game Alan Wake, where the main character,best-selling author Alan Wake, is suffering from a form of writers block for two years on end which leaves himunable to write and nearly ends his marriage because of it.In the 2004 psychological thriller Secret Window, which is based on the novella "Secret Window, Secret Garden" byStephen King, the main character is a writer by the name of Mort Rainey played by Johnny Depp, who portrays aman who is going through a divorce and as a result is suffering from writers block.Rapper Eminem suffered from Writers block for some time as the artist mentioned in "Talking to Myself", a trackon his top selling album Recovery. It was one of the causes for his musical hiatus.In Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon, the main character Grady Tripp, a college english professor and author of twowidely acclaimed novels, claims he does not believe in writers block, even though he has not been able to finish apromised third novel after seven years.Author Julia Cameron advocates the practice of morning pages as a remedy to writers block. Morning pages are 3handwritten pages of free writing where the purpose is to write without the intention of using the writing foranything. It is a practice that can bring your thoughts to the surface and allow you enter a more creative zone.Top 10 Tips for Overcoming Writers Block1. Implement a Writing Schedule.Carve out a time to write and then ignore the writers block. Show up to write, even if nothing comes right away.When your body shows up to the page at the same time and place every day, eventually your mind — and yourmuse — will do the same. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words, and only 500 words, every morning. Fivehundred words is only about a page, but with those mere 500 words per day, Greene wrote and published over 30books.2. Dont Be Too Hard on Yourself.In fact, don’t be hard on yourself at all while writing. People have writer’s block not because they can’t write, butbecause they despair of writing eloquently. Turn the critical brain off. There is a time and place for criticism: it’scalled editing.3. Think of Writing as a Regular Job, and Less as an Art.Stephen King, a famously prolific author, uses the metaphor of a toolbox to talk about writing in On Writing,intentionally linking it to physical work. If we think of ourselves as laborers, as craftsmen, it’s easier to sit down andwrite. We’re just putting words on the page, after all, one beside another, as a bricklayer puts down bricks. At theend of the day, we’re just creating things — stories, poems, or plays — only we use vocabulary and grammarinstead of bricks and mortar.4. Take Time Off, If You’ve Just Finished a Project.Writers block could be a sign that your ideas need time to gestate. Idleness can be a key part of the creativeprocess. Give yourself time to gather new experiences and new ideas, from life, reading, or other forms of art,before you start again.5. Set Deadlines and Keep Them.
  21. 21. Many writers, understandably, have trouble doing this on their own. You might find a writing partner and agree tohold each other to deadlines in an encouraging, uncritical way. Knowing that someone else is expecting resultshelps many writers produce material. Writing groups or classes are another good way to jump-start a writingroutine.6. Examine Deep-Seated Issues Behind Your Writers Block.Write about your anxieties regarding writing or creativity. Talk to a friend, preferably one who writes. A number ofbooks are designed to help creative people explore the root causes of their blocks. If your writers block continues,you might seek counseling. Many therapists specialize in helping artists and writers reconnect with their creativity.7. Work on More Than One Project at a Time.Some writers find it helpful to switch back and forth from one project to another. Whether this minimizes fear orboredom, or both, it seems to prevent writers block for many people.8. Try Writing Exercises.As much as it may remind you of your high school writing class, writing exercises can loosen up the mind and getyou to write things you would never write otherwise. If nothing else, they get words on the page, and if you doenough of that, some of it is bound to be good.9. Re-Consider Your Writing Space.Are your desk and chair comfortable? Is your space well-lit? Would it help to try writing in a coffee shop for achange? Without being too precious about it — or turning it into another form of procrastination — think abouthow you can create or find a space youll look forward to being in.10. Remember Why You Started to Write in the First Place.Look at what you’re writing and why. Are you writing what you love, or what you think you should be writing? Thewriting that feels most like play will end up delighting you the most, and this is the writing your readers willinstinctively connect with. At the end of the day, writing is too hard to do it for anything other than love. If youcontinue to touch base with the joy you first felt in writing, it will sustain you, not only through your current block,but through whatever the future holds.Getting the Best of Your Writers BlockThough some people say that writer’s block doesn’t actually exist, the fact remains that most writers will havetrouble writing at some point in their careers. The possible reasons for it are myriad: fear and anxiety, a lifechange, the end of a project, the beginning of a project…almost anything, it seems, can cause that particular mix offear and frustration upon confronting the blank page.Remember that you have an ongoing relationship with your writing, and as with any relationship, it’s not alwaysgoing to be the same. Part of dealing with writer’s block, whatever has sparked it, is accepting that it is inevitableto have periods of downtime, periods when it’s just not happening.It does help to think of writing as a regular job, and less of an art, dependent on certain magical conditions.Trollope, for example, urged writers to regard their work as “common work to the common laborer.” Steven King,another famously prolific author, uses the metaphor of a toolbox to talk about writing, intentionally linking it to
  22. 22. physical work. If we think of ourselves as laborers, as craftsmen, it’s easier to sit down and write. We’re justputting words on the page, after all, one beside another, as a bricklayer puts down bricks. At the end of the day,we’re just creating things -- stories, poems, or plays -- only we use vocabulary and grammar instead of bricks andmortar.Just as the reasons for writer’s block vary, there is also more than one way to deal with it. The list below is far fromcomplete: take it as a list of suggestions, things that have worked for some people, at some point in their writingcareers. Trying new things will at least shake things up, which is the first step toward breaking out of your block.1. Have a schedule, and stick to it.If your body shows up to the page at the same time and place every day, eventually your mind -- and your muse --will know to do the same. Graham Greene famously wrote 500 words, and only 500 words, every morning. Fivehundred words is only about a page, but with those mere 500 words per day, Greene wrote and published over 30books.2. Don’t be too hard on yourself.In fact, don’t be hard on yourself at all while writing. Anna Quindlin wrote, “People have writer’s block not becausethey can’t write, but because they despair of writing eloquently.” Turn the critical brain off. There is a time andplace for criticism: it’s called editing.3. Don’t panic.If fear is the basis for your writer’s block, panicking will only make matters worse. Again, having some kind ofschedule can help eliminate anxiety. The less you have to think about what you’re doing, the better. I know awriter who goes to her desk immediately upon waking up. She says that this way, by the time she really wakes upand remembers that she’s afraid, she’s already writing. Sometimes you have to play games with yourself tocircumvent your fear. Try different approaches and see what works for you.4. Take time offIf you’ve been writing steadily for a long time, or have just finished a project. It could be your mind needs time togestate. Idleness can be a key part of the creative process. Give yourself time to gather new experiences and newideas, from life, reading, or other forms of art, before you start again.5. Set deadlines and keep them.Many writers, understandably, have trouble doing this on their own. You might find a writing partner and agree tohold each other to deadlines in an encouraging, non-critical way. Knowing that someone else is expecting resultshelps many writers produce material. Writing groups or classes are another good way to jump-start a writingroutine.6. Examine any deep-seated issuesThat may be keeping you from writing. Write about your anxieties regarding writing or creativity. Talk to a friend,preferably one who writes. A number of books, such as "The Artist’s Way," are designed to help creative people
  23. 23. explore the root causes of their blocks. If the block continues, you might seek counseling. Many therapistsspecialize in helping artists and writers reconnect with their creativity.Overcoming Writers Block FOR MANY WRITERS THE WORST PART OF THE WRITING EXPERIENCE is the very beginning, when theyre sitting at thekitchen table staring at a blank sheet of paper or in front of that unblinking and perfectly empty computer monitor."I have nothing to say," is the only thing that comes to mind. "I am XX years old and I have done nothing,discovered nothing, been nothing, and there are absolutely no thoughts in my head that anyone would ever wantto read about." This is the Censor in your brain, your Self-Critic, and sometimes that Censor is bigger than you are.Who knows what causes the ugly Censor to be there — a bad experience in third grade? Something your mothersaid once during potty-training? — It doesnt matter. The Censor is there for all of us, building and rebuilding thisthing called Writers Block, one of the Censors many self-limiting toys. It might be some comfort to know thateven professional writers suffer from Writers Block from time to time. Some of the greatest writers in literature —Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, Katherine Mansfield, Joseph Conrad, Ernest Hemingway — were tormented bymomentary lapses in their ability to produce text — although you wouldnt think it possible if youve ever tried topick up War and Peace with one hand.There is no such thing as writers block for writers whose standards are low enough." This sounds terrible at first."What? Im supposed to write junk? I need a good grade! Im better than that!" No, Stafford is not encouragingwriters to produce garbage. He is suggesting, however, that its easy to take yourself too seriously, to think youregoing to write a poem or an essay that is going to be the greatest poem or essay ever written, that youre going toformulate the greatest, loveliest, most intelligent statement ever made. So you sit there, thinking how unworthyyou are, cursing the day you were born, wondering why you ever went to college, hating the very act of writingthat has you so stymied. A writer has to let that go, forget about judgment. Go ahead and write drivel at first, aslong as you write. Out of your nonsense and ramblings, however, believe that something good will come, someidea will catch fire right there on the page, there will be sparks, and patterns will emerge. Be willing to throw stuffout. Its all right. Do you think Shakespeare didnt litter his kitchen floor with balled-up pieces of paper? One nicething about the word-processor is that youre not wasting paper and trees; youre just exercising the delete key.But this is no time to worry about the environment. Fill that wastebasket with paper and trust that something willcome of all this scribbling. It will.Carry with you a pocket-sized notebook in which you can scribble ideas for writing as they come to you. How oftenhave you been stopped at a red-light and a great idea has come into your head? Its so wonderful that you knowyoull remember it when you get home, but when you sit down at the table, pen in hand, all you remember is thefact that you had a good idea an hour ago. Part of the writing experience is learning that good ideas do not alwayscome to us when we need them. We must learn to catch ideas as they come to us, fortuitously, even as wereabout to fall asleep at night.People who tell you that physical exercise is important for mental activity are telling the truth. If nothingshappening on the computer screen or paper, take a walk around the block. Hit the treadmill or tennis courts ordrive to the gym. But take your notebook with you. Fresh blood will be flowing through your brain and joggingmight just jog something loose in your head. It happens.Another trick is to start in the middle of your writing project. Avoid that problem of getting started by starting on apart of the project that interests you more and then come back to the introductory matter later. This sounds a bit
  24. 24. like starting to earn your second million dollars before youve earned your first, but its really not a bad idea in anycase, because sometimes its easier to say where youre going after you know where youve been. After all, yourreaders will never know you wrote the introduction last (another joy of word-processing technology!). One finalmaneuver around the old Writers Block: talk over your paper with a friend, or just blab away into a tape recorder(even better). Play the tape back and write down what you hear in clusters of ideas or free write about them.