Tag Archives: copy editing

The Curious Case of the Missing “T”

Not too long ago I sent a news release to the local newspaper about a Girl Scout in our parish who completed a meditation garden on church property as her Silver Award project. I try to be conscious of the fact that small town papers are notoriously understaffed and will usually print something that is decently written and provides solid information and quotes. Photographs are almost always welcome, especially if they show action instead of a posed shot with people lined up like smiling bowling pins. Anything the submitter of the news release can do to make life easier for the editor is a good thing and enhances one’s chance of seeing a story in print.

I was delighted to see a week later that the paper had printed our story in its entirety with minimal editing–photo included. It looked like every “i” was dotted and “t” crossed. But wait! Surely not! Oh, yes. The omission of one lower case letter “t” in the headline had changed our lovely m-e-d-i-t-a-t-i-o-n garden into a m-e-d-i-a-t-i-o-n garden.

Most people probably never even caught the error. Our eyes and brain cover a multitude of proofing sins. Yet all it took was the careless omission of one letter to change the meaning of an entire headline. It was an error that eluded the spell checker and the copy editor, and truthfully it almost eluded my own eagle editing eye.

So what’s the point? Proof. Proof. Proof some more. Never assume that spell check has your back. Find the best strategies for proofing your work word by word. I prefer to read from the end to the beginning one word at a time when copy editing. I also find it helpful to read aloud when hunting for mistakes and grammatical errors.

Mistakes happen. Some are more costly than others. Minimizing the potential for careless errors through diligent proof reading is crucial–whether you are a copy editor at a small town newspaper, a staff editor at a major publishing house, or a blogger. Make the most of your words and treat them with care. Oh, and don’t let random letters go missing.

I suppose one could participate in mediation in a meditation garden. The only question that comes to mind is this one: could the result be silent mediation or lively meditation? Perhaps we’ll never know. That may be just as well.

(Photo by Looking Glass used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!)

Scattered and Smothered

Mama said there’d be days like this . . . and she was right. I am currently scattered and smothered like an order of Waffle House hashbrowns in the midst of an editing project with a due date that’s barreling down like a freight train. Oh, yeah! I know how to live.

I’m willing to bet you’ve had a few days like this yourself; you know, the kind where you don’t know whether to  laugh or cry, when you’d really like to pull the covers up over your head and refuse to get out of bed, and when you contemplate the idea of an entire carton of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food Ice Cream (or whatever flavor rocks your taste buds).

So in the interest of knocking this project out the digital door, I’m going to keep today’s entry pretty shortand get back to work. Click here to enjoy a YouTube video of the Shirelles singing “Mama Said” while some hilarious animal pics scroll by. Everybody needs a laugh, right? Personally, I’m relating to the Polar Bear right about now.

Peace, blessing, and a good night’s sleep! Tomorrow is another day, but don’t forget to give thanks for the present one–no matter how wild and wooly it may be.

Lent 40/40/40 Update

Honoring Relationships

I have two days worth of honoring to do, so I want to send a big shout out to all the mothers out there who juggle multiple priorities to keep the plates spinning. Never give up. Know you make a difference. Trust you will get through whatever the day throws at you. This includes my mother, Reniva, and my mother-in-law, Millie. Thank you, ladies!

Next I want to send a big cyber shout out to all the women who may not necessarily be birth mothers, but who nurture others in so many ways. You know you who are! Whether you give your love and attention to a spouse, partner, parents, friends, or children–no matter who you nurture–you are wonderful, and you are making a difference. Keep on loving, giving, and believing that what you do matters . . . because it DOES!

Giving Possessions

I don’t know if this really counts, but yesterday we gave up satellite television. Not only will it save us a whopping $50+ each month, I’m hoping that by giving it up, we will invest in more quality time as a family. Plus, anything we really want to watch we should be able to find online. Today, I’m ditching another book. However, it’s a writing book I really like, and I’m giving it to my oldest daughter who is becoming an awesome writer with a strong voice all her own. Poor child followed in her mother’s footsteps and earned an English degree.

Thanksgiving

I’m thankful that this editing project will soon be finished (hopefully!), and I’m thankful that we had a gorgeous, warm, sunny day today. Even though I’ve been huddled over this borrowed laptop almost all day, I did take a few minutes to walk outside and breathe deeply. Life is good, very, very good.

Photo by imanka used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!