Is this editor weird? or, It’s all about the books (am I allowed to use that phrase?)

21 Jan

Pile of style guides and dictionariesIt’s my birthday today, and I’m anxiously listening for the doorbell. I’m expecting a delivery … of a style book for an editing style I don’t use very often, but is the style being used for a large project I’m working on. I know that there are online dictionaries and guides to editing styles (although in fact the one for this particular guide is a bit tricky to access), but I just prefer to work with a printed work.

Is this editor weird for doing that, though?

I’ve talked about using paper for keeping records before now, over on my more personal blog (which started off as a record of going full time and is now more of a book review blog). I do my tax returns online, and I keep financial records on spreadsheets and using my accountant’s online software, but I like to note down the work I do for my clients in a book. I star and filter emails that have jobs to do in my email inbox, and have a Gantt Chart to help me work out my deadlines and priorities, but I write a list of jobs and a daily to-do list in a physical book, using a fountain pen.

So, I obviously like printed and paper materials and records.

I have a nice wide-screen monitor on my PC, on which I can fit two A4 pages comfortably. But, I like one of those to be the job I’m working on, and one to be my own style sheet (because even if you’re using a set style, there are always details you need to keep noted down to send to the client with the job or to go to anyone working on the document after you). So it suits me to have a book on my side desk, ready for consultation.

I make sure that I keep my editions up to date, which is pretty easy to do when you swim in a sea of lovely editorial colleagues, and I buy the new ones when they come out. If there’s something not in the editions, I might do an online search (or ask my colleagues), I certainly check Google for which use of a word is more common / Wikipedia (for the basics and links), Library of Congress and other sources for facts, etc., and when I’m doing other jobs such as transcribing or even localising, I look up online as I go along – but when I’m doing straight editing or proofreading, I like to use my books.

The funny thing is, I edit almost exclusively online. I’ve done thousands of jobs, and only two of them have been on paper (and one of those was a pro bono project, and the other was for someone who didn’t want me to use the standard proofing markup!). I wonder if I’d happily use an online source if I did more paper editing … I think not, actually.

Am I weird? Am I behind the times? Or do others of you eagerly await a lovely, shiny new style guide to pop through your door, even if it’s not coinciding with your birthday?


Tags: , , , ,

9 responses to “Is this editor weird? or, It’s all about the books (am I allowed to use that phrase?)

  1. Sophie Playle

    January 21, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Not weird at all! (Unless … that makes me weird, too?) Happy birthday, Liz 🙂


  2. Sparrowgrass

    January 21, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Happy birthday! The title made me smile even more since I have an All about that bass post in the pipeline – great minds! Also I think you’ve summed up exactly why I like print reference guides at work – the screen is already busy!


    • Liz Dexter

      January 21, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you! And I think weird librarians and weird editors have a lot in common … having been both in my time!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thomas

    January 21, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Not weird at all! So great that you enjoy and look forward to receiving new style guides. The guides’ relevance to your work shows that you take pride in your editing skills/abilities/profession, which comes across well considering how so many other people do not always love their jobs. Happy birthday, too.


  4. Steve Dunham

    January 21, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    One of my coworkers noticed recently that when I needed to look up a word, I reached for the dictionary (the book) on my desk, though I also use the OneLook Dictionary online. I also like to use Webster’s New Geographical Dictionary, partly because in a different job, years ago, I was told we couldn’t afford it, but the company I work at now has one.


    • Liz Dexter

      January 22, 2015 at 8:55 am

      Aha – always good. I bet that’s a nice one, too. I go dictionary first, online second, definitely. There are some technical terms that defeat my trust Oxford, and I don’t have a MW for American English (but my New Oxford Style Manual covers different usages brilliantly, and MW online is good, too).



I love hearing from my readers - do please leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: