Comma Chameleon: When to Use a Comma

When to Use a Comma. Photo Credit – Flickr: duncanNothing like a little Culture Club pun to liven up an otherwise dense conversation about when to use a comma, right?

A subscriber recently wrote me this interesting question about overwhelming comma rules:

Dear Stefanie,

I write textbooks and often get pulled up for my comma usage. I was always taught that it marks a pause in the sentence but this rule doesn’t seem to work all the time.

A lot of comma usage can be down to individual taste it seems and you might be a heavy or light user. I think there may also be some US/UK differences (I am from the UK by the way).

I have consulted the Chicago Manual of Style and I see that there are endless pages on how to use commas in a variety of different situations.

To get to my point, I was wondering if you had a simple guide for comma usage that works and isn’t overly complicated to put into practice.

Thanks for your help. [Read more…]

What a Blog Without Comments Can Teach You About Managing Your Workload

Before I published content on this site, the concept of adding a “blog” to my workload was daunting.

Responding to reader comments and filtering spam is time consuming. I didn’t know if I could commit to it.

So, I created an outlet for my writing that is more like a traditional newspaper or magazine. I don’t have a comments section following my articles.

In the days of old media, you didn’t have the chance to sound off right away. If you wanted to comment on an article or feature, you had to write a Letter to the Editor.

And only a few select letters were published in the next edition.

What part of this process appeals to me? [Read more…]

5 Shortcuts for Proofreading Documents in Record Time

Proofreading Documents. Photo Credit – Flickr: jayneanddIn the past, I’ve provoked some outraged responses when I’ve written tips about proofreading your own documents.

Variations of “You simply can’t find your own writing mistakes! You need someone else to proofread your work for you!” have echoed through blog comments when I’ve addressed this apparently taboo topic.

I understand the sentiment, but I think that the benefits of working with a freelance copy editor or proofreader are obvious.

When a writer can also proofread like a professional proofreader, she is in a unique position to create a product that communicates her exact intentions. [Read more…]

12 Editing Solutions When Your Writing Isn’t Good Enough

Editing Solutions. Photo Credit – Flickr: Sharon DrummondDoubt.

If you’re a writer, the d-word plagues you daily.

Is your writing good enough? Is your writing ever going to be good enough?

Writing confidently is more than just feeling good about the thoughts that exit your brain and form neatly arranged words in a document.

To remove doubt, old-fashioned TLC has to be an integral part of your artistic lifestyle.

Here are 12 editing solutions that help you care for yourself and your writing. [Read more…]

Freelance Confessions: Confronting the Unsolicited Copy Editor

Freelance Copy Editor. Photo Credit – Flickr: doobybrainI cringe—CRINGE!—at the thought of something that I used to do.

It’s something that you may have done at some point, too.

When you first start working as a freelance copy editor, you want to make it known whenever possible that you excel at spotting writing mistakes.

On a very basic level, the ability to find and correct errors is the skill set that you need to monetize; you have to show others that you have the eagle eye that they need to fix their copy. [Read more…]

The Easy Way to Hire a Freelance Copy Editor

Hire a Freelance Copy Editor or Proofreader. Photo Credit – Flickr: Thomas Hawk The variety of businesses looking to hire a freelance copy editor or freelance proofreader is a lot like the different types of people who enter hardware stores.

Some hardware store customers know exactly what they need and go to the retail outlet to purchase the proper tools, accessories, or materials.

Other shoppers have projects or problems, but they don’t know what they need to complete their tasks. They need help.

Let me rephrase that: they need a solution.

They don’t want to learn about every drill or wrench for sale. They want the single product that will get the job done. [Read more…]