Just Because

The other night, I watched a Star Trek TOS episode called “The Ultimate Computer.” In the episode, James T. Kirk quotes a poem to Dr. McCoy, identifying it only as “a poem from 20th century Earth.” He uses it to illustrate the yearning for exploration and discovery that mark us as human. I found it unexpectedly beautiful, and I figured we could …

Make way for macros

Dragonfly editors are a diverse bunch, each with different strengths and specialties gleaned from years of experience, but always united in their quest to deliver readable, error-free copy to our clients. Sometimes we fly solo, and sometimes we work as part of a team of editors. To do what we do can be a challenge logistically and technologically, but we …

3 tips for editing figures and tables

A few years ago, members of the Dragonfly editing team attended an audio conference hosted by Copyediting.com. The session covered the painstaking craft of figure and table editing. This was a helpful talk (and speaker Laura Poole a skilled coach). These were my take-aways:       Good editing doesn’t happen in just one pass. Poole recommends creating a checklist …

Best Microsoft Word shortcuts for writers and editors

If you’ve ever used CTRL + S to save a file or CTRL + B to boldface something, you already know how to use Microsoft Word shortcuts. These keystroke combos save you time—and save your wrist from having to mouse up to the ribbon and make multiple clicks. Here’s a list of our favorite shortcuts, including lesser-known ones that can …

Designing Woman: Meet Dragonfly’s graphics guru

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Lexy Nesbitt has all the other Dragonflies beat. While the rest of the staff is consumed with syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation, Lexy is all about design. Her talents are not limited to visual communications, though. Over the years she has often written social media content, blogs, and newsletter content for Dragonfly …

Win more proposals by being less professional

Great article on CapturePlanning.com about using the quality of your writing as a discriminator in helping you win proposals. I’ve long felt that most proposals are written in a style that’s at once stiff, boring, jargony, dense . . . nigh on unreadable. Every proposal seems to contain the worst of business writing distilled (or usually expanded) into one mind-numbing …

As editors, sometimes it’s better to say no

A few years ago, one of our favorite clients called to find out if we could edit a 250-page federal proposal over the weekend. “No problem,” I told her. “That’s what we’re here for.” Then she told me that the proposal was just in draft form, and about 100 pages would eventually be cut out of it. That’s when I …

3 steps to pain-free writing

During an Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) seminar I once attended, proposal master Olessia Smotrova-Taylor outlined the “40-20-40” rule. It’s a great strategy for managing time spent writing a proposal. But this model also applies to almost any type of copywriting you might do. It’s easy to stress and obsess over the writing phase of our work. But the …

Bethany Reiff: Writer, foodie, not a forest ranger

If teenaged Bethany Reiff’s plans had come to fruition, she would be the world’s best forest ranger/novelist, and Dragonfly Editorial would be out one talented writing manager. Bethany grew up in northern Illinois — “close enough to the Wisconsin border that I talk funny” — and when it came time to decide what to study in college, she decided to …

Turning off Autocorrect in Microsoft Word

One problem that can plague writers and editors who handle a technical material is that Microsoft Word’s Autocorrect feature can sometimes “correct” words that you don’t want it to. It’s just another way that Microsoft tries to make life easier for you (I guess), but winds up treating you like a child that doesn’t really know what it needs. Here’s …