Microsoft Word is the go-to for most word processing. While its quirks will occasionally drive you up the wall, it’s still the best software on the market.
Part of its appeal, especially for editing, is the Track Changes feature. Track Changes allows everyone working on a document to see what changes have been made, easily accept or reject those changes, and communicate through the Comments feature.
However, if you’re unfamiliar with Track Changes, don’t worry; you’re not alone. If you haven’t been trained as an editor or worked with editors, it might be one of those million functions of Word that you’ve just never thought about learning.
Let’s face it. Word has a lot of features, and very few of us have the time to learn them all. And generally, it’s really not worth our time to learn them all.
But if you’re serious about writing and plan to work with an editor at some point, you will need Track Changes. Fortunately, it’s really not that complicated.
Here are a few things you can learn to make working with your editor a little smoother.
If you plan to go the route of traditional publishing, you may want to hire a professional to help you get your manuscript in good enough shape to catch the eye of an agent or acquisitions editor, but the bulk of the burden for editing will fall on the publisher.
However, if you plan on self-publishing, you are your own publisher and are responsible for making sure your work is ready to meet your readers’ standards. But many self-published authors (especially those new to the craft) don’t have a lot of funds to throw at the project.
While it’s really not a good idea to try do everything yourself, there are some tasks that can be done for free or at a lower cost, freeing up your funds to pay a professional for the things you can’t do on your own.
Whether you write or edit, you probably spend a lot of time staring at a computer screen, and you’re undoubtedly familiar with the fatigue and strain that comes along with it.
Maybe your eyes start to cross or refuse to focus on the words on the screen after a certain amount of time. Some people develop headaches or even more troubling maladies.
However, in our present world, working purely with pen and paper just isn’t practical, and most of us don't have the funds to hire someone to do the typing for us, so what can we do to continue with the work we love?
Sara has decided to self-publish. She’s written, rewritten, and revised her novel, and all her family and friends rave about how amazing it is. She had several of them check it over, but she wants to get it right, so she sends it off to a carefully selected professional editor, Jack.
Jack and Sara have agreed to follow Chicago style, so he gets to work on the editing process. He fixes all of the spelling and punctuation issues. He makes sure the main character’s best friend’s name doesn’t suddenly change from John to Jim in chapter seven.
After weeks of hard work, he sends the manuscript back to Sara, who is horrified by the changes to her baby. Why are all of the numbers written out instead of numerals? It just looks wrong! And the Oxford comma? Just no.
She wants it just right, so she sends it back to Jack who is happy to follow her preferences. And it’s not a big deal because a second round of editing was included in his quoted fee.
Finally, everything is just the way Sara wants it, but she wants to be absolutely sure everything is perfect, so after getting her novel back from the designer/typesetter, she sends it off to a proofreader.
But when it comes back, she’s once again horrified. All of the numerals are written out again, and that infernal Oxford comma has snuck back in!
What happened? How could it have possibly gone so wrong?
I love listening to music and podcasts while I’m doing other tasks. Having something going in the background makes mundane tasks like cleaning or gardening go more quickly and smoothly.
There are many authors who listen to music while they write and will even provide their fans with a playlist of what they listened to while writing each book.
I, on the other hand, can’t have anything with words going on when I’m trying to write. No podcasts, no music, no conversations, not even a television running close enough that I can distinguish any individual words.
Thinking about this topic, I started to wonder what kind of space you need for your best writing to come out.
Rebecca has a passion for helping you fill the world with great literature and making sure said literature doesn't get passed over for the lack of a little editing.