Monday, January 20, 2020

What You Need to Know About Self-Editing

When you take into consideration the way that the human brain works, and how difficult the English language is to understand, then you start to realise why self-editing is so difficult.

The English language is a hotchpotch of languages mixed together, including Nordic , Anglo-Saxon, Norman French, Latin, and various words that have been stolen from other languages over the centuries.  Most languages manage with only one or two verb tenses, the English language has ten.  With numerous rules such as "I before e except after c."

When you speak a word in English, words usually sound the way they are written.  Many foreign and native English speakers still struggle with the way a word is spelled because it sounds so different to the way they hear it.  For example the word "engineer" will be written like "ingeneer". 

There are people today who try to champion spelling reform in English, but with little to no success. 

This is Your Brain on Writing

If you've ever written for hours at a time, you know the toll it takes and the feeling of sheer exhaustion like you've just run a marathon.

The simple fact is writing is a very demanding activity on the brain.  As a writer the biggest problem you have is that your eyes only see what your brain thinks should be on the written page or screen instead of what is actually there.  Here is an example of this below:


How many 'Fs' did you count in the sentence?  If you counted less than six you missed two 'OFs'.  This is because we don't look at every word that is written.  Another example of this is the predictive text that you find on your smartphone or tablet.  When you're typing out a message it's already predicting what comes next.  When your brain is focused on the meaning you jump over conjunctions, and prepositions to the content words.

Below is another example, this time read it quickly.

THE PAOMNNEHAL PWEOR OF THE HMUAN MNID.  Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.  The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm.  Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

The above word illusion is another example of how your brain starts to catch up and you end up reading at normal speed by the end.

As a typist my fingers automatically start typing the words in the correct order, it shows that even your fingers see what they think should be there.

What's the Big Secret?

Over the years you've probably read hundreds if not thousands of publications from magazines to books, but how many mistakes have you found? I think typos are rare if not practically extinct when it comes to mainstream publishers.  So how do they do it? Is editing a talent that comes with good genes?  Or is there an AI program you don't know about?

The answer is no it's neither.

The simple fact is they hire professional copyeditors and proofreaders to do the job for them.  These people know how to find those pesky mistakes and eliminate them.  The secret is that professional editors go through text meticulously, each time with a different goal in mind.  They use editing tools such as Grammarly, WordRake, and PerfectIt.  Pacing their workload and taking breaks at appropriate times.

So what have I learned about self-editing?

1. You need the right mindset, and realise that copyediting is part of the craft of writing.
2. Overall editing text professionally will give you an edge as a writer, and the reader will have a better overall experience.
3. Errors can be costly and embarrassing.
4. The English language is full of many irregularities both spelling and grammatical, and also because your brain sees what it thinks should be on the page.
5. Anyone can self-edit, that's the secret, if you have the time to learn you can learn the techniques and tools required to be a professional editor.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

70 Best Websites for Writers 2020

Are you struggling to get your book finished?  Just starting out as a writer and not sure about the rules?

These are valid questions that need to be answered, and that's why the 70 best websites for writers 2020 is here to help you on your writing journey.

Writing Communities

1. Yeah Write

Yeah Write presents weekly writing challenges for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and micro stories each week. The community gets to vote on the most impressive stories and discover new favourite writers.

2. Wattpad

A social platform where "stories are made social". The world's largest community of writers and readers, all members are free to post and read original stories as well as engage in conversation with other members.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Copywriting: How to Recognise Your Reader

Understanding Your Audience

To really understand what your reader wants, and how they feel when they read your advertisement.

Who Are You Writing For?

When you're writing copy, you're not writing for everybody just a handful of people that are genuinely interested.

When it comes to advertising you can't be all things to all people because you'll end up with no customers.  Rather appealing to the people most interested and who will appreciate your product at the end of the day.  These are the people who are easiest to persuade.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Why Simplicity is the Key to a Successful Blog

The digital age has given life to so many voices via social media, and is expressed in as little as 280 characters.  When you put blogging into perspective it all boils down to being able to grab the attention of your audience.

Blogging is a hard nut to crack when you see how so many people have reached mammoth audiences with social media campaigns, and got thousands of visitors to boot.  But don't be discouraged, all is not lost.  With time and thought you can turn your blog readership with next to no viewers into a thriving influential force to be reckoned with.

Why Less is More When It Comes to Blog Images

A blog or website is boring and plain without images.  Even scholarly websites include some kind of imagery.  As reported by Business2Community, websites with images pull-in 94% more page impressions than that of their text-only counterparts.  To make your blog standout and improve your SEO you need to make your website more visibly enticing, and this is what you need to know.

Monday, December 23, 2019

15 Gifts for Grammar Lovers

For many users of the internet bad grammar can be really annoying.  If you see yourself as a devoted defender of the English language you'll love these fun gifts for grammar geeks.

All of them can be purchased, just follow the link.

I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar is a book full of real-life pictures from restaurants, stores, parking lots, and road signs gone awry that reads just like a proofreading bloopers real.  This book is sure to get a few laughs.

If you can't win an argument, correct their grammar instead mug.  Individually boxed, and printed on both sides, this coffee mug is sure to put a smile on your face.

If you like books on language and history you'll also like David Crystal's books.  You could try The Stories of English, or Making a Point for starters.

If you're looking for a book full of witticism and wise-crack look no further than The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm by James Napoli, the executive vice president of the National Sarcasm Society.

Let's Eat Grandma Commas Save Lives sweatshirt.  A great gift for anyone obsessed with proper grammar and punctuation.

I Enjoy Eating My Cat funny grammar quote mug.  For any cat lover or grammar nerd, this cute mug will have your friends in stitches.

Any books by William Safire, for those unsure of his work The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time and How Not to Write.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves made quite a stir when it first came out.  A half grammar how-to and half historical tomb on language, with 100% Wit, and a #1 New York Times Bestseller to boot.

Another great word game is Taboo.  A game about what you don't say. When you're handed a card you have to use one word, but not use of any of the extra listed words below.  You can get this game in a handheld version Taboo Buzz'd for word fun on the go.

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Skills Required to Copyedit and Proofread

Copyediting Basics

Not Fiction But Everything Else

The world of writing is more than just fiction writers, it includes professional writers such as freelance writers, copywriters, technical writers, and business writers.  Writing is the lifeblood of  many of these writers, after studying long and hard for years, gaining degrees from prestigious universities and colleges.

Many professionals take for granted the fact their occupation is based in and around writing.  Writing important reports and documents meticulously day in day out.

If writing is part of your profession you probably don't give it a second thought, it's second nature and part of what you do.  In order to become efficient, productive, and effective at what you do you need to understand your own personal behaviours. 

Monday, December 09, 2019

Copywriting: Understanding the Product You're Writing About

Understanding the Product 

Every piece of copy you produce is to sell a product.

Here are four things to look for when you're writing for a company:

Business-to-consumer product - e.g. bottle water, or trainers.

Business-to-consumer service - e.g. house insurance, or window cleaning.

Business-to-business product - e.g. pens, or a van.

Business-to-business service - e.g. social media marketing or accountancy.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Pronouns, Prepositions, Adjectives and Adverbs: Parts of Speech

The English language is comprised of eight different parts.  These parts include pronouns, prepositions, adjectives, and adverbs.  When joined together will make sentences both grammatically correct and readable.

Types of Pronouns

Pronouns are words that substitute nouns in a sentence, and are often used to avoid repetition of the same noun repeatedly. 

Common pronouns are made up of I, me, mine, she, he, it, we, and us.  There are a myriad of different types of pronouns, each with its own purpose.

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Laptops for Writers

A laptop is a writer's best friend.

Through thick and thin, a really good laptop should be robust enough to be used everywhere, from busy coffee shops, to travelling the world with you, and have a WiFi signal to match.

Reliability is the key to taking your writing anywhere and everywhere you go, whether you're novelist, or a freelancer.

Where Do I Start Looking for the Best Laptop?

In this post we've gathered together the best laptops, based on characteristics that are significant to most writers.  Categories such as portability, reliability, affordability, keyboards etc.

All links will lead directly to Amazon for easy browsing and shopping, and give you an insight into the reviews people have given on each laptop.  If you want more information you might want to go straight to the manufacturers' website, and look at their prices before you purchase.  Amazon has regular offers on so prices may vary from day to day.

Monday, November 18, 2019

How to Stay Safe on Social Networking Sites

Communication through social networks has grown exponentially over the years.  An important part of life for many people, this is due to growing communities online that have helped businesses and peoples interests to grow. 

Many businesses today couldn't survive without a link to the outside world via social media.  With all of the perks social media affords, it's really easy to forget the risks that are often overlooked.

Many risks that include stalking, bullying, criminal activity, identity theft and hacking.