Tag Archives: Microsoft Word

Self-Editing Tip #7: Organizing When Writing by Hand

12 Jul

Idea Organization when Writing by Hand—Last installment I promised all those writing by hand a tip for getting notes and comments more organized without a computer and Microsoft Word.

Remember rolodexes? Still have one lying around? Put it back to use by taking notes on the rolodex cards. Use the alphabetically ordered dividers as ways to separate your writing projects. Divide by title, by school course, business project, whatever suits your needs. The letter can refer to whatever key word that will help you remember where you put your notes. If this isn’t the kind of organization that works for you, put a white label sticker over the letter and write in your own heading. Keep the notes that correspond to each project in its own section.

It’s no problem if you don’t have a rolodex or can’t find anywhere that sells the refills anymore. Get generic note cards. Make a point to keep your notes only on note cards. Get one of those latching boxes made specifically for the note cards and the dividers meant to accompany them. Labeling follows same process as above. With either method, all of your notes for all of your projects are in one container, organized by subject or title.

Still looking for a solution?

  • Get color-coded. If you like sticky notes, use a different color for each project.
  • Highlight with a color code in books read for research and reference purposes. Maybe green means a good resource to keep at hand, orange means quotable material, and yellow signifies items worthy of a second look later.
  • Get a multi-subject spiral notebook. Dedicate each section to a separate project or an individual aspect of a project. It keeps your ideas together, eliminates the scraps of paper littering your desk, and is portable.
  • If portability isn’t a concern, mount a large cork board to the wall, use yarn, twine, or ribbon to section it off in segments, then use each portion to pin the notes in relevant groupings.

Have more ideas to add to this list? Is there something you do to organize that’s practical, original, and would help others? Tell me about it in the comments section!

Self-Editing Tip #4: Em Dash

8 Jul

The Em Dash—The Em Dash is the “giant hyphen” of the punctuation world. Many don’t realize that the hyphen is not the proper way to add commentary/editorial information into sentences. The example below shows the common mistake of using a hyphen rather than an Em Dash for this aside-type statement.

Ex. What is most important- especially for those not accustomed to certain exercise equipment -is that enthusiasm is not replaced with recklessness.

The sentence above is not incorrect in terms of syntax, semantics, or cohesion. The only thing that needs fixing are those pesky little hyphens. To create an Em Dash, type the first phrase and two hyphens. Leave no space between the words and the hyphens and no space between the two hyphens. Type the commentary phrase without adding a space after the hyphens. At the end of the commentary phrase, type two more hyphens with no spaces just like the first set. Most word processing programs will automatically turn your two hyphens into Em dashes. If it does not, you can select an Em Dash by going to the Insert tab of Microsoft Word, selecting Symbol, More Symbols, and then Special Characters. You can also use the shortcut key phrase Alt+Ctrl+Num or set your own shortcut key. The sentence in its corrected form is below:

Ex. What is most important—especially for those not accustomed to certain exercise equipment—is that enthusiasm is not replaced with recklessness.

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