Tag Archive: tip

Apr 10

5 tips for editing your own work

photo of magnified eye5 tips for refreshing your editing eyes are covered in this episode, an adaptation of Adrienne’s post on copyediting.com. While originally written for editors, these tips can help writers editing their own writing too; they are ways to trick your eyes into seeing what is actually there rather than what your mind thinks should be there.

Press play below or subscribe to have this sent automatically to your podcatcher/ iTunes, or right-click to download the file. 6:35 min

Follow this link to instructions for subscribing to this podcast.


What do you do to see the words anew? Leave your comments below, or join the discussion over on the Dameditors Facebook page.


Mentioned in this episode:

Original post: 5 Ways to Refocus Your Editing Eye

First and second episodes: Error Rates in Editing: What’s Your Save Percentage? and How many errors trigger a book reprint? (Spoilers: data shows 95% is the best humanly possible and, secondly, precious few.)





Link to my Canadian, Eh? column on Copyediting.com

The image for this episode is by chrisbb, used under CC BY 2.0 license.


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2014/04/5-tips-for-editing-your-own-work/

Apr 16

Writing for investors? Avoid these five phrases

guest post by Danielle Arbuckle


Vision Of Eyechart With Glasses used with permission of www.SeniorLiving.Org

Every industry has its own language, and finance is no exception. Some people may think we use this language to confuse readers (i.e., investors) or, worse, to hide important information with our vague, technical wording. I don’t believe that. In my 10+ years as a financial writer and editor, I’ve found that most of the people I work with are simply very comfortable with the language of finance. We get so comfortable, in fact, that we forget that others may be confused by the words we use. So, I’ve put together this list of five phrases to avoid when writing for investors:


1. Economic headwinds (and tailwinds)

Yes, I’ve travelled by plane, so I know that headwinds push against the direction of travel while tailwinds help push us forward. I could guess that economic headwinds are a bad thing, while tailwinds are good. But we shouldn’t assume every investor will make this leap. Often, a headwind is some economic challenge we expect markets (or funds or a specific industry) to face, and a tailwind is, well, the opposite of that. When writing for investors, be specific and explain the challenges or positive developments you’re expecting.


2. Cautiously optimistic

Numbers And Finance used with permission of www.SeniorLiving.Org

This is often a way to say we have no idea what’s going to happen with the markets (or a specific industry, etc.). Will they rise? Will they fall? Will they swing wildly? We’re not too sure; therefore, we haven’t decided whether we should invest with caution or whether we should dive in more optimistically. Thus, we remain “cautiously optimistic.” This phrase is too vague to hold meaning for investors; it should be avoided.


3. Secular trends

“Secular” has a specific meaning in finance that doesn’t translate well to the non-financial world. To many people, “secular” means non-religious or non-spiritual. In finance, it means “long term.” The fix is easy: write “long-term trends.”


4. Player and space

We’ve all heard this: “XYX Co. is a leading player in the biochemicals space.” This is industry-specific jargon that could be easily avoided when writing for investors. Depending on the context of your sentence, replace “player” with “company” or “competitor,” and replace “space” with “sector” or “industry.”


5. Performance outcomes

I admit to developing a bit of an eye twitch when I started seeing this phrase everywhere. “This fund/ stock/ industry offers strong performance outcomes…” It makes me twitchy because what we mean (and what we should write instead) is “strong returns.” Here, we’ve taken a simple and well understood concept and replaced it with something that will leave many investors scratching their heads.


There are many more phrases that leave investors confused, but this list covers some of my favourites. What phrases get your hackles up?


Danielle Arbuckle has been a financial writer and editor for 12 years. She has written about finance and investing for many Canadian consumer and trade magazines. As an editor, she has worked with bond rating agencies, regulators, mutual fund companies and investment banks.

[photo credit: www.SeniorLiving.Org Used with permission under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license]


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2013/04/writing-for-investors-avoid-these-five-phrases/

May 04

Proof in a Hurry

When a client wants a proof (test print) proofread in a hurry, focus on the weakest links:

  1. titles – cover, spine, headers, footers, chapters, and sections
  2. sequential numbering in lists
  3. labels and headings on graphics, chart, and graphs
  4. first and last word of each paragraph (for omissions)
  5. spelling of your name – and the author’s, publisher’s, etc.

Working in a hurry is never fun. You know the work cannot be as good as you would like. Sometimes there isn’t even enough time to read every word.

Work can be fast, good, or cheap; never all three.

Rush work is a compliment, though. Even though the printer is waiting, the client wants to pay you for one last look.

What’s on your “proof in a hurry” checklist? What “weak links” have you identified in your field/product?

Creative Commons License


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2012/05/proof-in-a-hurry/

Dec 12

Thinking of a Career in Editing?

Updated Feb, 2014: added online resources

Most editors come at the profession from other areas of expertise. They find they are good with words and have become the “go to” person at their workplace. Stepping from science (say) into science editing, is a sideways step that can be much less painful than a complete career change. The steps below can help you gain experience and an idea of whether or not editing is for you. It’s an incredibly diverse career group. As you navigate the early phases, remember that whatever someone tells you, the exact opposite may also be true.

The Editors’ Association of Canada (EAC) just released a booklet about careers in editing. For now, you can see their advice on the (soon to be revamped) website.


To learn about editing:

  1. complete exercises
  2. take a course or seminar
  3. read a style guide, or four
  4. join a professional organization



To learn about freelancing:

  1. join a professional organization
  2. take a course or seminar
  3. read Louise Harnby’s book

Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/12/thinking-of-a-career-in-editing/

Nov 24

How to Find Freelance Editing Work

i can haz edit?

An editor just told me she’s desperate for work and striking out in the freelance world. She’s not awake yet, so I looked her up everywhere I could think of, to find out what kind of editing she does. I have potential clients for her, if she has the subject matter experience.

She has ZERO professional presence online.


404 Editor Not Found


I still don’t think that having an online presence is THE way to get work. But NOT having one is a good way to prevent offers.


Consider the world wide web to be integral in the modern-day network:

  1. Meet people
  2. Fill in your profiles
  3. Interact online
  4. Create your own content



Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/11/how-to-find-freelance-editing-work/

Oct 06

Editing Strategies: Checklists

Checklists help ensure all elements are in place.

Every now and then, someone asks me if there is a method to my editing. Do I go from “big picture” to “minutia,” for example.

No. It’s not usually that orderly. There is a lot of art to editing. Especially at the start of a project, I just read it, changing or making notes as I go.

However, when I’m well into a project, the editing needs become clearer – the problem spots more apparent – or the elements to check get longer, out comes my checklist.*

Copy editing and proofreading are a lot more amenable to systems than structural editing is.

Below is my checklist from proofing pages on a recent project. Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/10/editing-strategies-checklists/

Aug 12

How to Start a Style Sheet

A style sheet is a record of style choices made as the editor works on a document. They are usually specific to a project or client.

What the bare bones of a style sheet should note.

My template or boilerplate style sheet includes

  • dictionary preference and preference for first given spelling option,
  • style guide preference,
  • reading level,
  • British or US punctuation (for commas and quotes), and
  • number treatment.

This style sheet is jotted on the back of an envelope because the job was tiny, at the final stage, and non-repeating.

Now, my boilerplate reflects the typical subject of my work and often includes notes on the treatment of Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/08/how-to-start-a-style-sheet/

Jul 26

Using the PDF Markup Comments List: One User’s Experience

I am very pleased to release the first guest post on this blog, by my colleague Dawn Hunter, a freelance editor and a multi award-winning author.

I [Dawn] use Acrobat’s markup tools, but I don’t use the Summarize Comments function, and neither do the formatters I work with. I have to say it is a neat function and I appreciate Adrienne’s showing it to me.

What we use is the Show Comments List. You can open it by clicking the icon that looks like two speech bubbles on the left of your screen.

The comment bubble on the left side of the screen will reveal the comment list pane below your PDF. 

Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/07/using-the-pdf-markup-comments-list-one-user%e2%80%99s-experience/

Jul 15

Productivity Rates in Editing

“How long will it take to edit this?”

By wwarby William Warby (CC BY 2.0)


The question comes up a lot. At first, estimating seems like a shot in the dark. The best bet is to do a few random pages and multiply your findings to take in the whole manuscript. Also, take 60 seconds to edit a sample and identify the most pressing changes that are needed. However…


Page per hour guidelines follow.


Calculate time and cost in a click.



Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/07/productivity-rates-in-editing/

Jul 04

Create a Checklist of Your PDF Mark-up in 2 Clicks

In my previous post of this series, I showed you how to use the “text edits” tool to mark up changes in a PDF. Some production departments are afraid of this tool. (See the insightful and learned comments in the previous post.)

A colleague and I both freelance for the same publisher, but in different divisions. Each of us has double-checked with the production department(s) and been assured that we are not allowed to use the other’s method for marking up PDFs. This makes me sad, because my colleague speaks very highly of Acrobat’s text edit tools, and they look slick. I’d like to use them.

In a very old industry, implementing new tricks take patience.

Read the rest of this entry »


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.catchthesun.net/2011/07/create-a-checklist-of-your-pdf-mark-up-in-2-clicks/

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