Advanced Professional Member of SfEP
Publishing professional for two decades
Decade editing for a website with daily deadlines
Right Touch Editing specializes in business and web copy, with ridiculous deadlines
We might want to make the case for getting more time to edit, we’re not likely to get it
Share with you today a strategy for how to edit faster
Things I’ve done and taught at presentations like this, in the University of California–San Diego’s program & for private companies
Got into copyediting because we love language. Joy in good writing
Copyeditors help writing be its best
Once we had time to work with care
Does anyone here feel like it’s still this way?
No, I don’t either.
IDC. Outsourced to India.
Today do more CE: SEO, proofreading, fact-checking, publishing copy (CMS).
We may resent this, but editing has changed whenever tech has.
Not necessarily bad: do what we love, seen as valuable
Problem: do it faster—and likely w/o a proofreader
Faster we work, the more mistakes we make & miss
It’s exhausting. It can be a struggle just to survive the day.
Don’t want to just survive—you want to thrive.
We need to adapt.
Adjust work habits to align with work environment.
Because more time is never coming back
Follow the Boy Scout moto: Be Prepared.
Counter-intuitive: spend more nonediting time preparing
Hit the ground running during editing
Being prepared especially helpful when you must act faster than you can think.
“If you fail to plan, then plan to fail”
Go beyond reacting
Plan for it and create a strategy to work quickly long term.
When?! In your non-editing time.
Human nature: just jump right in
Also exhausting and error-prone
Fight that compulsion and make a plan
Today: creating a strategy for thriving in copyediting 2.0 world.
1. Know your resources so you find what you need quickly on deadline.
2. Know your tools so you can use them more effectively while editing.
3. Create a triage plan.
The first thing is to know your resources.
So let’s talk about our resources.
House style guide = best friend
Written especially for your publication
Review it regularly
Many rules we don’t use regularly & forget them.
Give yourself a workout and review:
Recent changes and new entries.
Items you haven’t used in a while.
Learn more (on RTE)
If your publication doesn’t have a house style guide, I would encourage you to start writing one, even if you’re the only one who uses it. Make notes as you edit and in quiet moments flesh out your notes and organize the information, just as you would with a style sheet.
Make it easy to look something up:
Put flags or bookmarks in it
Create shortcuts if it’s a digital file
Get to know the style manual & house dictionary.
Colleen Barry’s PDF handout from a past conference, “How to Learn a Style Guide in 10 Days.”
Covers such topics as reviewing basic usage (Day 3) and styling numbers (7).
Read the front matter
Make it easy to look something up.
Flag important pages.
Online bookmarks; phrase-expanding shortcuts; bookmarks within the website.
EXAMPLE: PE shortcuts: CMS, MWU, AP; also directly to entries, like AP’s dateline entry.
What do you most frequently look up?
Put in a separate, personal style sheet.
Include: rules, words you often forget how to spell, shortcuts, notes on AU, FAQs.
Long sheet? Bookmarks and highlighting
Review your grammar—everything from spelling to usage to grammar rules—and editing guidelines
Attending this conference is a great way to review what you know and learn something new—so hooray for you!
Annually: take an online course, attend conference sessions that offer review, pick up a new workbook
And I love how SfEP encourages continuing education and rewards it. Take advantage of it!
As for what to review: What haven’t you done in a while? What do you struggle with? Set aside time to research that one thing you trip over.
You could do it daily or weekly by continually reading books and articles, listening to podcasts, playing word games and puzzles.
Both SfEP and EFA sell inexpensive booklets to help you conquer topics.
You will find if you teach, mentor or coach that those things will help you review as well.
Before we move on to tools, does anyone have any questions or recommendations?
I love a good checklist!
List ALL steps you need to follow
Review it regularly: forgotten items, changes/new items
EX: InfoSec, forgot to review auto-gen’ed URL. I had been missing that step for months!
AU checklist: their voice, preferences, common errors; one quick pass of your AU’s most common errors?
EX: Track things like which authors preferred long hyphenated phrases
You know the CMS basics
Get to know its quirks
Can you tab between boxes?
Can you open a drop-down list and start to type to have it scroll for you?
Anything that will save mousing and keystrokes is worth noting.
If you’re working in Word:
Template: cues you for all the pieces you need, applies styles/formatting
EX: Tip template
Make use of macros, autocorrect, keyboard shortcuts. (mention Amy’s macro session?)
PerfectIt! by Intelligent Editing.
Bookmarks to find your place quickly.
Para. and word styles to make changes universally
Text-expanding software: shortcuts for
Works in just about any software
Save you a ton of time on things you do repeatedly.
Watch your habits. What do you type or mouse to over and over? Create a shortcut for it!
Never underestimate well-placed post-it.
EX: Learning new shortcuts.
I will post a few to learn, and when I’ve learned them, I’ll post new ones, so I can keep learning.
All of these things will help prepare you:
Information top of mind or flagged to be found easily
Have tools ready to do their best work
Quickly hinder you if not up to date.
Update at the end of your editing or in prep moments
What other tools do you use?
Any questions before we move on? Any tools you’d recommend getting to know better or tips for using these tools better?
Can’t always do everything that needs doing in the time we have
An occasional more-urgent-than-usual rush
Or baked-into-the-system, constant time crunch
You’ll need to make choices--triage
If you have authority: create a triage list and put it into play
Most need to talk with supervisor/superior/client
Be prepared for that meeting.
Share strategies using
Helps make case you’re doing your best
May bolster your case with examples or data
Time to do some tasks
Time to complete all the tasks
Make notes while edit
Lay out in an organized fashion
EX: Save time copyediting and proofing over just proofing
If 2 separate rounds, less over time spent by editor & designer
Designer time costs 3x $$
Finish faster, cost less
Bring well-thought-out triage list & plan for when to use it
Ask your supervisor about their priorities
Adjust the list accordingly
Knowing before the edit what you’ll focus on
Sets everyone’s expectations
Gives you guidance in stressful moments
Run out of time: items at the bottom will be less problematic
What kind of things should be on your triage list?
Lobbying for a simple, easy to apply style can help in these moment. And if you work for a publication that thinks it has a stripped-down style but actually has a lot of unwritten rules, write those rules down.
SEO can be triaged
Supervisors don’t always want it
Review what’s most important: images; meta title and meta description; keywords/topics/categories.
Fact-checking can be triaged
Priority: legal trouble. Embarrassing errors. Facts crucial to the article’s thesis.
Lower-priority items: generalized into factual correctness.
EX: AU quotes Joe Smith of Widget Co., listing his title as “director of widgets, gadgets, and grommets.” Can’t nail down his precise title. Rewrite as “director.”
Questions? What tips do you have? How do you approach triaging?
CE grown beyond boundaries we were taught.
More duties, less time
Often working without a safety net.
Create your own safety net: strategy created for a time-pressed environment:
Know your resources
Create a strategy for finding what you need quickly.
Know your tools
Find ways to use them more efficiently.
Create a triage plan that works for the business and you.
Adapt work method to a time-crunched environment: keep doing the work we love without sacrificing quality or our sanity to it.
Download slides, along with live links
Articles: Resources section of my website at www.righttouchediting.com/resources.
Feel free to connect.