Do you enjoy being a proofreader or editor? I do. In fact, it’s the most obviously satisfying job that I’ve had in my whole career. I find handling the English language fascinating, and I love reading (mostly technical) texts and trying to ensure that there are no obvious mistakes; but I also enjoy the fact that when other people read the text, they can pick up the meaning of each sentence immediately and unerringly, without having to stop and reread it.
The problem, especially with editing, is that there are so many other things for me to think about – hyphenation, spelling, capitalization, fonts, styles, numbering, coding, etc. These can distract me from the meaning of a given sentence.
If the prime aim of the document is to communicate, then anything that distracts from the meaning is a "bad thing". So my prime focus in writing macros – for myself first, but also for you – is to provide computer tools that deal with the "housekeeping" part of the task, allowing me to concentrate on what the computer definitely can’t do – polish the text.
So the other reason why I find my job so satisfying is that I think I have been able to create a range of macros that make me more efficient – I do each job more quickly – but also more effective, in that the final product has fewer mistakes, is better phrased and is easier to read than it would otherwise have been.
When I get a chance, I’ll write about how I try to put this principle into practice. I’ll look at the different areas where macros can help. They aren’t an end in themselves (OK, I may sometimes be guilty of making "toys for boys") but they have a very serious aim: to earn more pounds per hour and to produce a higher standard of output.
About Paul Beverley
Paul has over 25 years’ experience as a technical author, publisher, proofreader and editor, and has the highest available editing qualification: LCGI (editing skills). Paul is passionate about macros and has used his programming ability to complement his writing and editing skills. Through his series of Macro Chat posts, he aims to share his knowledge and open up a dialogue about the benefits of macros to anyone working with words. Comments and questions are always welcome so please do join the discussion. No question is too basic!
Visit his business website at Archive Publications, and access his free book at Macros for Writers and Editors.
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I'm an Advanced Professional Member of the UK's national editorial society. Visit the SfEP website for more information.
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