Put a Badge on It

A few chillier days in Portland have made something abundantly clear to me: summer may be over. Part of me doesn’t want to concede that it’s already the traditional time to hit the books, to start new intellectual projects, and to redouble efforts toward goals. As everyone transitions into back-to-school mode, I find myself struck by what you’ve helped me build with Tweed Editing. You all keep inviting me to work on incredible projects, and at all stages of execution. I’m now performing developmental and line editing with faculty across the country almost as much as I’m copyediting manuscripts for presses, dissertators, and professors. Without fail, your editing assignments open my eyes to novel avenues of research and to fresh ways of looking at perplexing phenomena. I almost feel like an editing scout, earning merit badges left and right—which gave me an idea for way to reinvest creatively in Tweed. Some sewing skills, an iron, a background in Girl Scouting, and a bit of free time begat this: This summer I took a lakeside hike to the council ring built on the site of the first Boy Scout encampment (1910, Silver Bay, New York). That’s where I am in this picture, and I’m wearing a sash covered with insignia that all have to do with research, writing, and editing. There’s a badge for bookmaking, one for blogging, one for drinking coffee, another for mastering homonyms, and many for academic pursuits. The “Editor” patch on my shoulder actually designates, of all things, a position within Harley-Davidson motorcycle clubs—talk about feeling formidable. Simple, silly pleasures like this sash add some spice...

Lost in Spaces (between Sentences)

If you’re submitting articles to journals or shopping around your scholarly book proposal, content is key. But when you also adhere closely to a publisher’s or journal’s style guidelines, you demonstrate professionalism and your ability to honor parameters. It shows that you can work in the service of something larger than your own project. If you could do something simple to send the subtle message that your submission fits and enhances the image of your target journal or press, would you do it? Attention to details—like the spaces between sentences—can give your work a leg up. Luckily, there are only a couple dominant standards for the number of spaces between sentences: one space or two. And the best way to enforce consistent between-sentence spacing is by using a function built right into Microsoft Word: find and replace. (For a basic introduction to this feature, here is Microsoft’s own guide. Find-and-replace functionality is available in every version of Word I’ve ever had, but this link is specifically for Office 2010. I believe find and replace operations are also possible in Google Documents and OpenOffice, but I can’t vouch for some of the advanced techniques below. If you try them out, let me know your results!) These tips are tried and true, but before you make any big find-and-replace moves, save your document! That way, if anything goes haywire, your precious work remains unharmed. Chicago and MLA: One Space Chicago and MLA styles go by the one-space standard. No matter how many times you accidentally hit the space bar while typing your manuscript, achieving only one space after every period is...

The Labor of Scholarly Writing

It’s Labor Day weekend in the United States, and I’m finding that I actually do have time to enjoy the holiday. This is no small achievement. Since you readers are academics, I’m guessing you’re pretty familiar with quasi–free time. Our work is sprawling and unstructured because, for us, work overlaps with what we love to do, what we’d want to be doing anyway. We don’t clock in and clock out, so our work (the love of our life though it may be) haunts our waking life and even interferes in our dreams. Despite loving the idea of a flexible schedule and despite being a night owl, I’ve recently been working more traditional hours, and every aspect of my life has improved as a result. Challenging my own long-held presumptions and experimenting with a new (albeit culturally traditional) schedule has paid off, and I’ve been spending my Labor Day weekend rejuvenating and thinking fresh thoughts. Happiest of Labor Days to you, writers! Remind yourself that you’ve earned some time off—because writing is work. Download the computer desktop graphic and a printable poster here. More graphics here, at the Writing Progress Administration. Maybe a friend needs to remember that weekends are for writers. Send the message as an e-card here. When you do want to get back to work, this door tag will spread the message. And if you’re curious about the origins and cultural forces behind Labor Day, here’s a short article from PBS to ground your...