5 tips from a proofreading pro

A few years ago, I heard Sarah Price talk about proofreading on Copyediting.com’s monthly audioconference. Sarah’s a freelance proofreader in the UK. She has taught proofreading to audiences as varied as the UK Parliament’s House of Lords and House of Commons, Wiley–Blackwell, and L’Oréal. Sarah told us that in the “good old days,” proofreaders worked on paper, using standard proofreading …

My Four Favorite Dictionaries

Dictionaries are for looking up the meaning of words, right? True. But there are other kinds of dictionaries that are just as valuable. Dictionaries that explain not just words, but whole concepts. Here are four of my favorites—ones that I use almost every week at work. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Ever wondered why we say that a clean …

How to turn on Track Changes in Excel

Track Changes is a godsend for editors. It’s a feature in Microsoft Word that allows you to suggest changes within a document. An author can see what changes you suggest then accept or reject them. But editors don’t only edit in Word. Some also work in Excel spreadsheets. Track Changes is offered in Excel, but how do you turn it on? …

A poet with a penchant for crime dramas: Meet Lindsey Alexander

If Lindsey Alexander could be anything she wanted, she’d be an actor who plays a homicide detective. Not an actual homicide detective, mind you, but an actor who plays one on TV. “I couldn’t actually be a detective because any kind of gore, I couldn’t do, but I could play one,” she explained. And in fact, homicide detective is a …

Myths of editing: on the other hand

cupped hands in blue and red lighting

Being an editor is fun. If you’re like me, you love catching and fixing mistakes. But sometimes, we fix things that don’t need fixing, following rules that aren’t really rules. Here’s one of those “non-rules” that you can stop following. The myth If you use on the other hand in a piece of writing, it must be paired with the parallel phrase on …

Copywriting: Fake it ’till you make it

While at the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) conference in 2012, I attended an interesting talk by Olessia Smotrova-Taylor, a world-class proposal manager and the president of OST Global Solutions, Inc. Olessia spoke on the tricky task of writing on a topic that one knows little (or nothing) about. It’s a challenge Dragonfly writers face every day. Our clients’ …

Tweet without fear

3 tips for posting on Twitter I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. It’s a great tool for connecting with other writers and editors in the field and for promoting Dragonfly’s work. On the other hand, there are so many different approaches to sharing content, that it’s hard to know where to start. What time should I post? How often …

“Work hard and be kind:” Chatting with Dragonfly’s Anna Bentley

Anna Bentley isn’t your run-of-the-mill editor. She loves tamales, pugs, and space. And, of course, editing. She currently lives in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. They’re considering a move, though, to “somewhere that doesn’t feel like living inside a radiator in the summer.” From journalism major to major editor English was always Anna’s strongest subject in school, …

The power of checklists

This is a tweet from an ACES chat on using checklists when editing.

I’ve been speaking a lot these past few years about the power of checklists. In 2015, I did a Twitter chat about checklists for ACES, the American Copy Editors Society. I and my fellow tweeters talked about how checklists help us cope with an overwhelming world by getting “all those things we’ve got to remember” out of our heads and onto paper. How …

When Editors Need Editors

It’s been 10 years since I wrote the original version of this post, and the fact that “editors need editors” is truer than ever. For example, earlier this year, I wrote this on Twitter: “Looking to add the perfect punch to your prose? Use a one-sentence paragraph … judiciously.” But instead of “prose,” I wrote “pros.” Oops. A friend quickly pointed …