Making Writing Manageable, If Not Enjoyable

The good folks at the Pedant, Claremont’s student newsletter, recently interviewed me about how make writing more pleasurable and routine (yes, both). The issue is out, and I see that they’ve quoted me using un accent circonflexe—I feel so fancy! Other tips come from esteemed professors, a New York Times contributor, a writing-center professional, and procrastination experts. The takeaway is in the last sentence: “Writing may not always be heavenly, but it also need not be hell.” For the full two-page article, “A Few Pages a Day Keeps the Malaise Away,” view the PDF of March’s issue. Thanks to Pedant editor Rachel Tie for inviting my...

Tweed Editing Profiled in UPPERCASE Magazine

It’s all very happenstance, but a series of events led to UPPERCASE magazine devoting a two-page spread to me and my work with Tweed. UPPERCASE is “a magazine for the creative and curious.” While its focus is not academics, scholarship fits that tagline pretty perfectly, wouldn’t you say? The piece’s headline, “Lady Luck,” reflects the curious circumstances that led them to feature me. (I won a lifetime subscription, totally by chance.) But the deck—in academic parlance, we might call it a subtitle—really gives me a kick: “Academic Editor by Day, Word Scout by Night.” With or without the thematic sash I made, I guess “Word Scout” must henceforth be my superhero name. (Any ideas for a catchphrase? “Forget cookie time, it’s book-y time”? “Be prepared . . . with reams of reading material”? “Wherever there’s print media, I’ll be there”? “Book this!”?) Erin Bacon, the writer of the piece, quotes me sharing why I do what I do: “It’s important to me that academic writing has at least the potential of engaging with broader culture. The field of my own research is scriptures and cultures, so I suppose it’s obvious that I have a fascination with the printed page and how humans create meaning through text.” The good folks at UPPERCASE have given me a discount to share with you all: the code contributor17 will get you $10 off a subscription or renewal. Don’t think of this as you might a subscription to (now defunct) Newsweek or Us Weekly, where half the pages are advertisements from companies who have paid handsomely for your attention. No, this is like receiving...

Push Your Scholarship Further: Developmental Editing

Much of the work I do with faculty and recent PhDs is developmental in nature. That means that I’m not tweaking their grammar or even improving their diction on the sentence level. I’m helping authors push their research so that it achieves more for them. Developmental editing produces scholarship that is argumentatively sound. The manuscripts I’ve developed say more—and more effectively—than they were able to say otherwise. All of that is very nice, and better scholarship may indeed be an end in itself. But that’s not all developmental editing accomplishes. It’s not even the most important outcome. Once a project—as a nascent idea, a proposal sketch, or a complete manuscript—is developmentally edited, it is poised to go places. It’s positioned to be accepted by the right academic journal. It’s ripe for an acquisitions editor to pick for his university press’s catalog. A developmentally edited research project has legs. Publishing outlets and funding agencies take a look and know exactly what to do with it. It’s legible to the audiences that matter for its success. Ultimately, having those kinds of projects in your portfolio gives your career momentum. Whether you consider yourself a lifelong professor, independent scholar, or writer of another sort, pushing your ideas will push you toward your professional goals, too. Here’s what I’m helping scholars do when we work together developmentally: Reframe so that the research is addressing a salient, timely concern or question. Reorganize so that the best ideas aren’t buried under scholarly apparatus. Reprioritize so that the reader’s experience—not a chronological recounting of the background research process—is paramount. Rejuvenate the whole project by finding and...