You guys know I’m a stickler for grammar and editing, so today Shayla of Curiouser Editing is stopping by with a few tips to self-edit your writing and your writing process.
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If you’re looking for a quick way to ruin a beautiful, handmade card, look no further than poor grammar, forgotten apostrophes, and awkwardly slanted words.
It’s easy to get in a rush when letter-writing, only to scribble out the improper use of they’re and hope it doesn’t ruin the look of the card. (It does.)
While there’s no backspace button for letter-writing, there are two things that might help: patience and preparation.
Instead of a card full of errors and scribbles, try these five tips for writing a memorable, clean letter every time:
1. Sit down at a desk instead of using your car’s steering wheel. The pen won’t press down correctly, and you’re usually at a weird slant, thereby creating a head-tilting, awkward read. And let’s not forget that embarrassing hole you poked through the card when you pressed down too hard.
2. Think through your message and jot it down on a separate sheet of paper instead of using the pristine card as your guinea pig.
3. Edit your test letter. Did you place a comma after “Dear Jane”? Did you capitalize proper names and places? Don’t forget that ‘s after James. (“James’s cat is doing just fine, just fine.”) What about your spelling? Donut furgit to cheek ur spealing.
4. Use your good pen — not a pencil, crayon, or stolen bank pen that runs out of ink in the middle of your writing. Two almost-the-same-but-not-quite ink colors in the body of your letter aren’t pretty, plus a “Sorry, my pen ran out!” note is unpleasant, takes up space, and is avoidable.
5. Once you’re sure your words are near perfect, slowly, thoughtfully write them down. For real this time!
Now you’re ready to write a clean, grammatically correct, and visually appealing note in your Red Letter Paper Company card!
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Shayla is a writer and editor for Curiouser Editing. Her services cover web content, books, blogs, short stories, lyrics, résumés, menus, and anything with words. Keep up with her on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
Need more grammar tips? Check out this post on stationery vs. stationary and how to remember which is which.