How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is inescapable and happens to nearly everyone. Regardless of whether you are a prolific writer or amateur, sometimes putting down your thoughts on paper or a blank computer screen can be an uphill battle. If you have ever experienced it, you will probably agree that writer’s block can leave you stuck. In this article, we hope to give you some creative ways to overcome writer’s block so you can get back to writing.

You may have faced writer’s block when you first started writing or after you’ve already written several chapters. It doesn’t matter; it affects us in the same way. Writer’s block traps your mind, leaving you with little creative ability. Despite knowing what to say, it becomes hard to put it in words.

 

Common Causes of Writer’s Block

The common causes of writer’s block include poor timing, perfectionism, and fear.

  • Poor timing: Sometimes you feel that it is not the right time to do your writing or you are just too late in writing your piece. This is when you lose your ideas, and you end up procrastinating. Usually, in this case, you may need to spend some time processing your ideas.
  • The idea of perfectionism: This is when you want your writing to be perfect. You end up spending too much time fleshing out your ideas. Perfectionism can be very tempting, but if your writing isn’t done correctly, you may end up writing nothing at the end.
  • Fear: This is horrible and happens to all of us. You don’t want your audience and others to criticize your piece. In fact, fear, even the mere thought of it, is the big reason why most of the potential writers never take the first move.

However, writer’s block is a temporary problem that happens to everyone including beginner, intermediate, and experienced writers. The good thing is that it is possible and easy to break writer’s block. For centuries, writers from all over the globe have come up with solutions on how to overcome writer’s block. Here are ten tips on overcoming writer’s block.

 

Tips to Overcome Writer’s Block

1. Mind-mapping

Mind-mapping involves outlining all of the relevant things to include in your piece which gives you a head start. Mind-mapping connects your ideas with your main theme. It ensures that your information is organized and planned so that you can come up with structured content.

Mind-mapping relates to how your brain works. It is both analytical and artistic which helps make your brain work better. Mind-mapping makes your writing fun and drives away writer’s block since you can keep expanding on your ideas as the mind map grows. Even if you are handling a tough subject, mind-mapping enables you to gain insight making sure that you never get stuck.

To get started with mind mapping, you can find some great resources here.

2. Just start writing to break writer’s block

It sounds weird, doesn’t it? But it works. It is better to write something than to do nothing. Start by doing a free writing. Put down in writing anything that comes to your mind. Even if it is crap, gibberish, or junk. The muses and fears will soon vanish if you start writing right away. Never mind about the binding chains of perfectionism. If it is garbage, you can just delete or erase it later.

3. Go for a walk to get your blood flowing

Exercise is essential in balancing your work and your psychological, emotional, and physical health. Leading an active lifestyle is the best thing for any writer. It makes your blood flow well through your brain to keep your creative juices active. Among the exercises that can help you write better include walking, jogging, and biking. By the time you come back to your workstation after your workout your head will be clear. Ideas will flow easily when you have a fresh mind.

4. Just write about the big picture

Make your writing exciting. Just look at the big picture and read as much information as possible. This can make your research interesting, and you can remain motivated throughout. Make your writing loose and never worry about simple mistakes like grammar in the first draft. Again, just write even if it means starting your writing in the middle. The thing here is making the first move. Remember that a game becomes interesting after you start playing. Similarly, you can break the fears in your writing adventure by just starting to write.

5. Get help in the areas that make you stuck

It is common to get stuck if you are tackling a big or unfamiliar subject. If you ever get stuck and have no way out, try seeking help from another writer. Identify those gaps that made your project come to a standstill and ask for advice on how to get through it. Panic will never solve anything, in fact, it will just waste your time. The sooner you find help, the faster you can get back to writing.

6. Change your writing environment

Swapping your surroundings can work wonders in fighting writer’s block. Go outside your office to a silent place outside or to a park. If you enjoy the cafe vibe, find a local coffee shop with wifi. Sometimes distractions around you can be the source of your inability to write best.

The focus is vital for flawless writing. Go to a place where your sole intention is to write. Also, leave your phone behind and unplug from the internet. Emails and other notifications can easily distract you from writing. Additionally, start your writing early when your mind is fresh in the early morning. Facebook statuses and emails can put you into a reaction mode, distracting you from your writing.

7. File and handle it later

If your writing is not due soon, then plan your time. If you are getting bored or stuck, give it time and do other things first. Doing things in pieces can make your writing fun and exciting. You’ll complete your writing naturally without ever getting stuck or frustrated. Take a smart approach and get things done the easy way. A great tool I use to bucket my time is Tomato Timer.

8. A cup of coffee can do you good

It works for most of us. If you have a strict timetable and don’t have enough time to exercise, then coffee can be a quick solution. Work on your piece as you sip your coffee. It keeps your mind active so that you can continue to be creative and fight through the writer’s block.

9. Have a notepad to jot down ideas

Despite focusing our minds on one thing, our brains never stop wandering. If something important and related to your topic comes to mind, jot it down so you can think about it later. Once you’ve written down your thought, forget about it until you are finished with your current writing. A Moleskine notebook is a great way to jot down these notes.

10. Alternate your writing with rest

Your brain is not a machine, and it will get tired and wear out. Take regular breaks and let your mind rest. Research shows that human mind is more creative when it is at rest. Get a full nights sleep and take naps when you need to. Also, make sure you take regular breaks throughout the day. I mentioned the tool I use, Tomator Timer, above which is a great way to schedule your breaks.

Conclusion

Writer’s block happens to all of us. Nothing frustrates us more than staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen and not knowing where to start. However, you have to push through the writer’s block and not allow it to paralyze your writing. We have talked about ten ways to help you overcome the hurdle of writer’s block.

Hanged vs Hung

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the use of the word “hang” and its tenses. The question here is, are these words interchangeable? And if they are not, what is the difference between hanged vs. hung? Should you use hanged or hung when referring to that picture on the wall? The main point to remember is that hung is used when referring to inanimate objects while hanged when referring to people.

Hang is the present tense form and means to suspend, decline downward or to cling tightly to something. Hanged is the past tense as well as past participle of hang. Hanged in most cases is used to refer to death by hanging. For example, in a sentence, we can say,

The traitor was hanged in the public square.

The word hanged has a very specific use.

hanged vs hung

Hung is another frequently used word. It is a regular past tense of hang. In fact, it is used more often than hanged. In a sentence, we can say that:

She hung the picture on the wall

Hung is used with all the inanimate objects like shelves, paintings or ornaments. Most people claim that the two words can be used interchangeably especially when referring to putting people to death. However, it is less customary to use the two interchangeably in Standard English. Hung might be the conventional word to use if referring to hanging someone out of malice but without intending to kill or put to death.

It is also vital to understand the origin of these two words. A majority of us wonder why there is two past tense for the same word. According to The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage, Third Edition, there are two different words for hang from Old English including hon and hangen. These combined with Old Norse word “hangjen” led to the entanglement of the two words. This is why we have two different past tense for the word hang.

8 Best Laptops for College Students

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Are you looking for a new laptop for college? You have come to the right place. We have evaluated a number of laptops that our visitors use at college everyday. Continue reading for the best laptops for college students.

Preparing for college can be stressful enough without having to decide which laptop to buy. Since most colleges require a laptop these days, it is necessary that you buy the right laptop with the right specs. Most colleges will give you the required specs of the laptops they allow, but we’ve gone a step further with this article to recommend laptops that not only meet the requirements of colleges, but generally exceed them.

Given that most college students need to be mobile, we will keep this list to only laptops, but you can certainly get a desktop for college as well when you need more computing power in your dorm. The following guide of best laptops for college students is geared towards students who need lightweight laptop options to take to class, but anyone is free to read our guide.

Before we begin, let us define what makes a great laptop for college students:

What makes a great laptop for college students?

Buying a new laptop can be a challenge if you aren’t familiar with what specs are required. Most colleges will provide these specs, but here’s an overview of what specifications you should be looking for in a new college laptop. The eight key things you need to look for when buying a new laptop are below:

Recommended laptop configuration for college students:

Storage: These days, at least 250GB is ideal. If you travel a lot, you may want to look into an SSD drive upgrade

Graphics: Getting a discrete is recommended, but not necessary

RAM: Buy at least 4GB, but more than 6GB is preferred

Software: Buy Windows or Mac OSX and your preferred word processor

Processor: AMD A6/ Intel i3 OR better

Keyboard: Buying a full keyboard might be beneficial if you have to type numbers a lot, have big hands, or just prefer one. You can either get a larger laptop (heavier) or buy a lightweight USB keyboard. Also, we highly recommend getting a backlit keyboard so you can write in low light.

Weight: Since you will be carrying your laptop to class often, we highly recommend a lightweight laptop (less than 4 pounds)

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Best Laptops for College Students 2017

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LaptopProcessor | RAM | StorageWeightPrice
1. MacBook ProIntel® i5 | 8GB | 128GB SSD3.5 lbs$1,000+
2. Lenovo ThinkPad T450Intel® i5 | 8GB | 500GB3.81 lbsUnder $700
3. HP Notebook ay011nrIntel® i5 | 8GB | 1TB4.65 lbsUnder $550
4. Acer Aspire E15Intel® i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD5.27 lbsUnder $600
5. HP Chromebook 14Intel Celeron | 4GB | 16B SSD3.4 lbsUnder $200
6. ASUS ZenBookIntel® i5 | 8GB | 256GB SSD3.2 lbsUnder $800
7. Dell InspironIntel® i5 | 8GB | 1TB5.3 lbsUnder $500
8. Microsoft Surface BookIntel® i5 | 8GB | 128GB3.3 lbsVaries

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MacBook Pro (Editors’ Pick)

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]Apple MacBook ProNo list of the best laptops for college students would be complete without the MacBook Pro. We love this laptop since it is reliable, stylish, and comes with many of the programs college students need to get started.

The MacBook Pro 13.3-Inch Retina Display, 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD, and up to 9 hours of battery life. MacBooks come with the Mac OS X Yosemite, but you can install Windows by using the Parallels program. It is also one of the lightest laptops on this list. It has a backlit keyboard for writing in low light and a spacious palm rest.

We recommend the MacBook Pro if you prefer the Mac OSX operating system environment or prefer a really great screen resolution. The asking price of $1,200 may be off-putting, but if you love the Apple ecosystem, this is the laptop for you.[/fusion_text][fusion_button link=”https://capitalizemytitle.com/go/apple-macbook-pro/” color=”green” size=”” stretch=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_self” title=”” button_gradient_top_color=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”1″ animation_offset=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]See More Details on the MacBook Pro[/fusion_button][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_separator style_type=”single solid” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=”” /][fusion_text]

Lenovo ThinkPad T450

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]Our ThinkPad T450 packs a lot of core features for college students including a fast process, lots or graphics support, a spill-resistant keyboard which is perfect for the college student working in the cafeteria.

This gem features a 14 inch full-HD LED screen, an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. For additional security, this Thinkpad laptop comes with a fingerprint reader.

The laptop comes preinstalled with the Windows 10 operating system, but that can be customized. The laptop is also lightweight coming in at 3.81 lbs.

Very rarely can you get a laptop with such great features for less than $700.[/fusion_text][fusion_button link=”https://capitalizemytitle.com/go/hp-notebook-15ay011nr-156inch-laptop/” color=”green” size=”” stretch=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_self” title=”” button_gradient_top_color=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”1″ animation_offset=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]See More Details on the HP Notebook ay011nr[/fusion_button][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_separator style_type=”single solid” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=”” /][fusion_text]

HP Notebook ay011nr

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]hp laptopThe HP Notebook ay011nr, packs a load of features for under $500. It’s really hard to match the bang for your buck with this laptop.

This gem features a 15.6 inch full-HD screen, an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. It even has a backlit keyboard to boot. For an additional $30, you can get an SSD hard drive which will make it less prone to heating issues and will eliminate your worries about losing data from a hard drive crash.

The laptop comes preinstalled with the Windows 10 operating system, but that can be customized. The only downside to this laptop is the weight which comes in at a little under 5 lbs.

Very rarely can you get a laptop with such great features for less than $500. We highly recommend you snatch this laptop up before it’s gone![/fusion_text][fusion_button link=”https://capitalizemytitle.com/go/hp-notebook-15ay011nr-156inch-laptop/” color=”green” size=”” stretch=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_self” title=”” button_gradient_top_color=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”1″ animation_offset=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]See More Details on the HP Notebook ay011nr[/fusion_button][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_separator style_type=”single solid” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=”” /][fusion_text]

Acer Aspire E15

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]The Acer Aspire E15 could be one of your best investments if you’re willing to pay a little more than the HP above.

Like the HP, the Acer Aspire E15 packs a 15.6 inch full-HD screen, an Intel i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. The main difference between the Acer and the HP is the 256GB SSD that comes built-in to the Acer. Also, the Acer includes 2GB of dedicated graphics RAM so if you are planning to do a lot of image editing, the Acer will be a better buy over the HP.

The laptop comes preinstalled with the Windows 10 operating system, but that can be customized. It also included a backlit keyboard which is great for college students who love late nights.

The only reason the Acer did not get our top spot for 2016 is the price tag, but it’s still a great laptop nonetheless![/fusion_text][fusion_button link=”https://capitalizemytitle.com/go/acer-aspire-15/” color=”green” size=”” stretch=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_self” title=”” button_gradient_top_color=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”1″ animation_offset=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]See More Details on the Acer Aspire E 15[/fusion_button][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_separator style_type=”single solid” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=”” /][fusion_text]

HP Chromebook

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]The lowest priced laptop on our list, the HP Chromebook certainly offers many of the tools college students are looking for out-of-the-box.

While it may not pack the same power as the other laptops on this list, the Chromebook doesn’t need to. It has a 14-inch screen, which is plenty for writing,  4GB of RAM, and a 1.4 GHz processor. It only has 16GB of storage, but that’s because everything it does is stored in the cloud so you never have to worry about losing files!

All Chromebooks run on Google’s proprietary Google OS which functions very much like the Google Chrome browser.

For the price of only $250, it’s hard to beat the Google Chromebook, especially when it has all the features college students are looking for.[/fusion_text][fusion_button link=”https://capitalizemytitle.com/go/hp-chromebook-14/” color=”green” size=”” stretch=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_self” title=”” button_gradient_top_color=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”1″ animation_offset=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]See More Details on the HP Chromebook[/fusion_button][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_separator style_type=”single solid” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=”” /][fusion_text]

ASUS ZenBook

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]One of the higher-priced laptops on our 2016 list, the Asus ZenBook book offers plenty of perks to make up for the price tag.

This laptop features a 13.3-inch multi-touch (yes, you can tap it!) screen, an Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. It even has a backlit keyboard and it is the lightest laptop on this list. Obviously, the main differentiator between this laptop and the others on this list is the touchscreen. This is a huge benefit for college students who want to archive their work immediately in real-time on their laptops.

If you’re looking for a laptop on which you can handwrite notes, this is the laptop for you![/fusion_text][fusion_button link=”https://capitalizemytitle.com/go/asus-zenbook/” color=”green” size=”” stretch=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_self” title=”” button_gradient_top_color=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”1″ animation_offset=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]See More Details on the ASUS ZenBook[/fusion_button][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_separator style_type=”single solid” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=”” /][fusion_text]

Dell Inspiron

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]Dell InspironAnother great laptop, the Dell Inspiron has everything you’d expect from a great laptop for college students at a reasonable price.

An i5 Intel processor, 8GB RAM, 15.6 inch touchscreen, a 1TB HDD, and Windows 10 operating system. This touchscreen is cheaper than the Asus ZenBook which makes it a great buy if you are looking for a touchscreen. The wide palm area is ideal for college students as well. The 7 hours of battery life also makes this laptop a steal since you since through several classes without worrying about finding an outlet.

If you are a looking for a reliable, great laptop with a touchscreen this is a great laptop.[/fusion_text][fusion_button link=”https://capitalizemytitle.com/go/dell-inspiron/” color=”green” size=”” stretch=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_self” title=”” button_gradient_top_color=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”1″ animation_offset=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]See More Details on the Dell Inspiron [/fusion_button][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_separator style_type=”single solid” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=”” /][fusion_text]

Microsoft Surface Book

[/fusion_text][fusion_text]Microsoft Surface BookMicrosoft really knocked it out of the park when the developed the Surface Book. It is a beautiful laptop that is perfect for college students who love touchscreens. While a lot pricier than most of the laptops on this list, it definitely makes up for it with value. We do only recommend this laptop for college students with deep pockets though due to the price.

Being a Microsoft laptop, the Surface Book comes preinstalled with Windows 10. The base model comes with 4GB RAM, a 13.5-inch PixelSense Display works perfectly with the included pen, an Intel i5 processor, 128 GB of storage, 8GB RAM, and up to 12 hours of battery life. The keyboard disconnects from the screen, allowing you to use it as a tablet as well.

The best part about this laptop is the screen. The included pen works seamlessly with the laptop, making this is the best touchscreen we have on this list. If you enjoy writing on laptops or tablets, this is the laptop for you.[/fusion_text][fusion_button link=”https://capitalizemytitle.com/go/microsoft-surface-book/” color=”green” size=”” stretch=”” type=”” shape=”” target=”_self” title=”” button_gradient_top_color=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” bevel_color=”” border_width=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” modal=”” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”1″ animation_offset=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=””]See More Details on the Microsoft Surface Book[/fusion_button][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container background_color=”” background_image=”” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ background_repeat=”no-repeat” background_position=”left top” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” border_size=”0px” border_color=”” border_style=”” padding_top=”20″ padding_bottom=”20″ padding_left=”” padding_right=”” hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”no” menu_anchor=”” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none” last=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” border_position=”all”][fusion_separator style_type=”single solid” top_margin=”20″ bottom_margin=”20″ sep_color=”” border_size=”” icon=”” icon_circle=”” icon_circle_color=”” width=”” alignment=”center” class=”” id=”” /][fusion_text]

In Conclusion

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While these are the best laptops for college students according to us, you may find a laptop that better suits you. Since there are so many great laptops, feel free to list your favorite in the comments to help visitors after you who are looking for laptops for their college students. In the end, laptop choice is very personal, so if none of these laptops fit your style, find one that does!

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Making a case for letter case

John Saito, a writer at Dropbox, recently posted on Medium a great article describing the reasons people and apps use title case and sentence case. If you haven’t tried our title capitalization tool yet, we allow you to do both. John argues that while title case creates a nice symmetrical pattern for short sentences, sentence case creates a more casual and inviting visual appearances, something modern brands, such as Dropbox, will want to use. Additionally, he argues that Title Case actually makes picking out proper nouns in short sentences extremely difficult. In the example he gives below, he argues that users may not realize the “Calendar” app refers to a named app or just any generic calendar app.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

title case vs sentence case calendar app
Source: Medium

 

Another interesting fact John talks about is that Google and Apple use different case styles:

If you’re an Apple user, you’ll notice a lot of title case throughout their products. That’s because Apple’s design guidelines recommend title case for many UI elements, including alert titles, menu items, and buttons.

If you’re a Google user, you’ll see a lot more sentence case throughout their products. And that’s because Google’s design guidelines recommend sentence case for almost everything.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]

apple vs google title case and sentence case in apps
Source: Medium

To read the full article, head over to Medium.

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Do You Double Space Between Sentences?

Two spaces after a period

When people used to learn how to type on a typewriter, the “two space after a period” rule was a must, since additional space was needed to show the difference between the spacing between a word which was smaller and the spacing between the sentences which was larger. The world has since changed. You’re not going to like it when I say no two spaces after a period, just use one.

You were probably taught to use double space after a period in high school typing class too, but that was wrong. How do you change the habit? You can easily break the habit as I haven’t used or tempted to type two spaces for decades. Quitting two spaces after a period is not like quitting a lot of things, like smoking. You don’t find yourself in a nostalgic typewriting situation and suddenly get hit by an unexpected urge to use a double space after a period.

Most people have been using two spaces after a period, as they were taught, but to correctly follow most style guides, you only need to use one which is more than enough to differentiate a sentence and words on most modern computers.

 

The easy way to get rid of two spaces after a period

If you don’t want to read the whole reasoning behind using only one space after a period, there is a simple shortcut to get rid of all double spacing in your documents. Simply use the CTRL + H in most word processors on Windows and COMMAND COMMAND +SHIFT + H on Mac. Then in the “Find” text box, type ”  ” without the quotes. That’s two spaces, what you’re searching for. Then in the “Replace with” text box type ” ” without the quotes, a single space. Then click “Replace All” and voila, your double spacing becomes single spacing.

 

Modern style: one space after period

If you still use two spaces after a period then you will be tormenting your editor. Most editors keep begging people to only use one space. Using two spaces after period they have to delete one, don’t think it’s not hard with search-and-replace, so it’s not hard to place dishes in the dishwasher either, the fact that you don’t like doing that, do you?

If the sympathy of the editors doesn’t move you, then you rule follower although some rules are not worth it. You don’t have to put up with a lot of to-heck-with-the-rules types of listeners or readers. And the new rule should be a one-space world not double space after a period.

Top style guides such Chicago Manual of Style, AP stylebook, and US Government printing office style manual recommends once space after a period.

Space after period’s story is always told as though the monospaced typewriter fonts needed double space after a sentence for excellent readability. The wide availability of proportional fonts on computers led to the use of single space.

Using a monospaced font the letters are all the same width, hence an I is the same width as an m. The proportional fonts the letter differ in widths, hence an i is much narrow than an m.

In fixed-width for example, the horizontal space used for the letter “j” is the same as that used for letter “k”.

  • Three jjj’s
  • Three kkk’s

Check the two sentences below:

  • Fonts such as Courier New will accomplish this task.
  • There are 49 letters and 3 numbers in this sentence.
  • Do 52 alphanumerical characters it in the same space?

 

Variable width fonts (proportionally)

Examples are spaced such as Arial, Verdana, Geneva and time new roman using a different amount of horizontal space depending on the width of the letter.

Example 1

  • Three jjj’s
  • Three kkk’s

Example 2: the sentences below have 52 characters.

  • Arial is a proportionally spaced font that does not.
  • Do 52 alphanumerical characters fit in the same space?
  • There are 49 letters and 3 numbers in the sentence.

 

Most publishers advise leaving the single character space, double spaces, between and after colons used within a sentence when working on either a manuscript and published work.

The AP clearly states the rule, and the MLA acknowledges that most presses use one space. The question remains way? And why did your grammar teacher tell you to use two spaces?

When handwriting, there’s nothing like uniform spacing; only if your handwriting is as terrible mine, hence wider spacing to make it clear new sentence has started.

Grammar Girl states the main reason why double space after period started with most typewriter using monospaced fonts as explained above. Note that the period of a monospaced font is quite far out from the final letter of the sentence, unlike in computers. If using dry typewriters ribbons the period will at times be almost invisible.

The shortcoming noted the reason arises to use an extra space: double space after the period to ensure the sentences concluding was visible even when the periods were not visible.

 

What about after colons?

It has always been one space after the colon; the traditional American typing practice, enjoyed by some people, who leave double space after colons and periods. The University of Chicago press, especially for formally published and manuscripts works from which they are published discourages the use of double space after the colon.

 

The shift to one space after a period

The story of space at the end of sentences is complicated that the traditional lore, with the many years of professional printing before the typesetters, typewriter tends to use wide spaces after the periods. The era of a typewriter, two spaces after period ruled, the computer era and the shift of typewriter to computer tools for typing, one space become the standard.

HTML and most of the blogging platforms, even if you use double spacing, they are eventually turned into one space after period. In special cases, where you need multiple spaces, you must hard code it in using the HTML code for space, such as &nbps giving you a nonbreaking space.

By doing so the program won’t break a line at the space a special way to keep two words together, hence they don’t end up on two lines such as dates or a name.

 

The advantages of a single space

The single space after period seems to have many advantages. It very appealing, and improves the sense of sentence flow, hence preventing the readers from getting distracted by the purgatory of an extra blank area.

The real advantages of using single space boil down to:

  • Single space is the new standard, so double space after period looks like an error.
  • HTML writing and anywhere on the web automatically removes double space, reinforce one space after period making any worrying at second space useless.
  • Double space after period, your editor will wind up doing find-and-replace and your work wind up with one space after a period adding benefits is a frustrated editor.

Recommending one space after a period doesn’t mean double space has no advantages. It has always been an element of clarity in distinguishing the end of a sentence from an abbreviation.  Further, it makes it clear a new sentence has started even if a word is not capitalized.

Lastly, you need to think of switching over to a single space. It starts with obsessing over double space after period, killing them with great displeasure, an event with a sense of loss. Within several weeks you will find and replace on every document you wrote as you will be leaving a few extra spaces in.

Within a month you will break the double space after period habit and always keep the one space after period standard in mind.

 

Additional Reference

7 Days to Better Writing – Day 7: Publishing Your Writing

Now that you’ve spent the last six days improving your writing, you’ll want to showcase your improvements somewhere. Today you’ll learn where to publish your work and how to make sure it’s ready for publishing.

 

Where can you publish your work?

You have three main methods for publishing your work that vary in cost and audience size.

Online Publishers

Amazon is by far the most well-known online publisher. They offer Kindle Direct Publishing which allows you to instantly share your writing or books with millions of readers via Kindle ebooks, but also provide full-service publishing to fill all your publishing needs. Other notable online publishers include: AuthorHouse, Apple’s iBooks, and Lulu. A new site, Reedsy, will even help you connect with the best online publishers.

 

External Publishers

For hundreds of years, the classic way to publish books has been to find a publisher who is willing to print your book. You had to convince the publisher that your book was going to sell a lot of copies or else it wouldn’t be worth the publisher’s time and investment. In fact, many well-known authors, including JK Rowling, were turned down the first time they approached a publisher. Unless you know your book is going to be a bestseller or has gained a large following via another form of publishing, you may want to hold off on publishing externally. The four major publishing companies are: Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Hachette Livre.

Other

The Internet has opened many doors for amateur writers. No longer do you need a major publishing house or newspaper to publicize your writing, you can just post it online.

Blogging has become a very popular outlet for writers as there are virtually no barriers to entry. Anyone can start a blog on WordPress or Blogger, and instantly make it available to billions of people. Similarly, online forums such as the Subreddit /writing allow you to make your work available to thousands of people and get feedback immediately.

 

Format your writing for publishing

Now that you know where you’ll publish your writing, you need to make sure it’s formatted correctly so that your audience doesn’t immediately dismiss you as an amateur.

Style Guides

Depending on where you’re publishing your work, you may need to format your writing and titles in one of the following ways:

  • Elements of Style: The most common guide used by writers of all kinds, the Elements of Style is a must for any amateur or professional writer.
  • Chicago Style: Mostly used in academic settings for journals and manuscripts, Chicago style is still “one of the most widely used and respected style guides in the United States.”
  • APA Style: The APA, or American Psychological Association, style is most commonly used by the social sciences in journals.
  • MLA Style: MLA style is most commonly used to write and source papers within the liberal arts and humanities.

While there are a number of styles you can use, the Elements of Style is by far the most likely candidate for you.

 

Online Tools

Besides using our title capitalization tool to make sure your writing titles and headers are correctly formatted, there are a number of other online tools that can make sure your writing is correct. Here are our top 5:

  1. Grammarly: One of the best proofreading tools on the internet, Grammarly checks for all sorts of grammar and typo issues. It then coaches you on how to improve. There is even a Chrome extension available so you can edit right from your browser window. Check out our Grammarly review to learn more.
  2. Google Docs: The online word processing capabilities of Google Docs lets you share your writing with anyone for proofreading and formats your writing to work with most major publishing platforms.
  3. ProWritingAid: This tool not only tells you what to improve, but also how to improve. It has the ability to generate a detailed analysis on overused words, sentence length, writing style, plagiarism, clichés, redundancies, “sticky” sentences, consistency, and the like.
  4. ClicheFinder: Most readers are turned off by clichés; they see them everywhere. So why not identify them before your readers? ClicheFinder is here to save the day.
  5. PublishXpress: Want to quickly convert your Word documents to ebook-friendly formats such as epub and mobi? Try this online tool that does just that.

 

Publishing your writing can be hard work, but very rewarding once the world is able to read your creations. Best of luck!

 

For more from our 7 Days to Better Writing series:

10 Most Common Grammatical Errors

We have all made grammar mistakes at some point whether in writing or when we are sending messages to other people. Social media has been detrimental to the proper use of the grammar since most people use short forms when texting which in turn affects their grammar, especially spelling. Grammar errors manifest themselves in many ways including misspellings, wrong use of tenses, and wrong punctuation. This is probably why we need copy editors when dealing with serious publications. This article will take you through some of the most common grammar mistakes that people make.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

1. Run-on sentences

These types or errors usually occur when two independent clauses are joined together without the right kind of punctuation.  The run on sentences can be fixed by;

  • You can decide to separate two clauses into different sentences.
  • Use a comma with a subordinating conjunction like before, because, until, while, although, e.t.c.
  • And lastly, only connect clauses that are closely related in thought otherwise they remain on their own.

 

2. Errors relating to pronouns

A pronoun can be defined as a word that is used instead of a noun. Examples of pronouns include I, she, he, who, many, whose and many others.  Pronouns can be divided into three:

  • Subject pronouns like her,
  • Object pronouns like her
  • Possessive pronouns, for example, hers.

Here are a few rules that will help you avoid pronoun grammar mistakes.

  • Only use subject pronouns if the pronoun is the subject of the sentence.

Example: He cleaned the car.

  • You can use subject pronouns to rename the subject in a sentence.

Example: This is the speaking.

When using a pronoun, it should agree with the nouns in the sentence. If the pronoun is in singular form, the noun should also be singular and vice versa.

3. Apostrophe usage

Apostrophes are used to show possession but they cannot be used after a possessive noun such as hers, theirs, yours and mine.

For example:

My brother’s bike is next to her bike.

An apostrophe is also used in “it’s” as a short form for “it is.”

For example:

It’s a hot day

Possessive nouns do not require an apostrophe. For example, yours, ours, theirs, his, etc.

5. Misplaced modifiers

Modifiers are words or phrases that which act as adjectives or adverbs to describe words or make their meaning more specific.  For example, fast, slow, crazy and pretty.

A modifier should be placed next to the word it is supposed to identify. The modifier is supposed to refer to a certain word in a sentence.  If the modifier is far away from the word it is supposed to modify then it could lead to wrong meaning. It is always right to make sure that modifiers are used correctly in a sentence.

An example of a modifier is the word happy in the following sentence.  The happy girl.

Some modifiers can be misplaced which usually leads to a confusion. The misplaced modifiers can be corrected by placing the modifier before a noun or the pronoun it is describing.

An example of a misplaced modifier is.

People who exercise regularly are healthy.

The right sentence should be:

People who regularly exercise are healthy.

Notice the placement of the word regularly has changed to give the sentence an easier understanding.

6. Wrong use of a hyphen

A hyphen is a mark or symbol that is used to join two or more words to form compound terms or to show that a word is not complete at the end of a sentence.

Some people do not know where to place the hyphens hence making grammar mistakes. Below are some rules that will guide you to avoid the mistakes.

Use a hyphen when you have two or more words that come in front of a noun they modify and act as a single idea.

For example:

A state-of-the-art laboratory.

Do not use a hyphen when you have the adverb very, and in cases of adverbs ending in –ly.

Incorrect:

  • The very-talented girl.
  • The finely-refined leather.

The hyphens in the two sentences are unnecessary.

A hyphen is not usually used to separate a period of time if the time is written in plural form.

For example,

She has a four-year-old child.

In that case, the period of time is in the singular.

 

Now let’s change the same sentence so that the period of time is written in plural.

Her child is four years old.

In that case, do not use a hyphen.

Always use a hyphen when referring to a span of time. For example, 2006-2010.

7. Quotation marks

A quotation mark is usually used to denote a quotation from another source. It is also used to show spoken language i.e. the words said by another person.

For example:

“I don’t care what you do,” she said.

If there is a question mark in a certain quotation, the quotation marks should be after the question mark but if the question marks not a part of the quotation then the closing quotation marks come before it.

“Can we have chicken for dinner?” Raymond asked.

In this sentence, the question mark stays within the quotation mark because it was part of the said words.

When we are speaking verbally to other people may indicate the use of a quote by saying, open quote and end quote at the end. Full stops or otherwise known as periods and commas should be inside the quotation marks.

Example:

“Hurry up, we are running late.”

In cases where the quoted text occupies more than one paragraph, start the new paragraph with opening quotation marks but only use the closing marks at the end of the whole quoted text.

 

8. Spelling mistakes

Spelling mistakes mainly occur when people write a word the way it sounds. These grammar mistakes can put you in a lot of trouble. To avoid such embarrassment we recommend the following rules that will help you improve your English spelling.

  • Use a dictionary. In case you are not sure about a certain word, don’t take chances, always refer to a dictionary.
  • Write down the difficult words you come across for future reference, by doing this you improve your memory and the spelling for the big words will stick in your mind.
  • Be careful about the homophones. These are words that are pronounced the same but they are spelled differently.

Example: affect and effect, allude and elude and many others. If you do not know the spelling and meaning of the said words you are likely to confuse during writing.

Familiarize yourself with the spelling rules. Go through some of the commonly miss-spelt words to help you be extra careful when dealing with such words.

 

9. Capitalization

The most common rule about capitalization is that we should write the first letter of a sentence in uppercase. But apart from this people usually forget other rules like starting some nouns with a capital letter even when they appear in the middle of a sentence. If you have any issues with capitalization, use our free title capitalization tool.

Always capitalize the name of a person, a company, days of the week and months, holidays and institutions.

Do not capitalize a city or town if it appears before a proper noun. The example in the sentence, the city of New York the word city cannot be capitalized but when it comes to New York it is capitalized. The New York City.

 

10. Use of passive voice

Always try to avoid the use of passive voices in your writing.

For example, “the fruits were eaten by Mary” can be written in active an active form as “Mary ate the fruits.”

 

The above guides will save you the trouble of grammar mistakes when you want to write. Reading a lot about the English language will help you avoid some of the common mistakes.

What Exactly Is a Copy Editor?

At times it is almost impossible to write an article without any grammatical mistakes hence the need for a copy editor. A mistake in a publication lowers the credibility of the whole company and takes a long time to regain the trust and credibility. Copy editors are people who go through a written material to correct any errors whether they are grammatical, punctuation or spelling. Some publications may have a particular style in which they want their articles to be written and copy editors go through the materials to make sure all the rules have been followed.

A copy refers to the written material, whether handwritten or typed. In news publications, a copy editor also looks for mistakes that could them in trouble like defamatory statement and errors regarding facts.  Depending on the publication policies, the copy editor can rewrite what they feel does not conform to the organization’s guidelines.

Some, however, prefer to return the copy to the editor who had assigned the work rather than rewrite it.

Many people do not distinguish between copy editing and line editing. Line editing involves looks at the creativity, and the language used to in writing and do not necessarily focus on spelling and grammar.

So What Exactly Does a Copy Editor Do?

A good copy editor should have a command of language so that they can effectively point out the mistakes in a copy.

  • A copy editor corrects grammatical errors, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Corrects wrong usage of word or phrases
  • Changes passive voices to active voices if there is the need to do so.
  • Gets rid of unnecessary words and inappropriate jargon in a copy.
  • Removes redundancy in a copy.

Common Tools Used by Copy Editors

The most important tools for copy editor are a reference book.  Among the reference books a copy editor should have a dictionary to guide them.

In organizations which have their own set guidelines, the copy editor should have access to the guide book containing the guiding rules that the company follows. Always use those resources to improve your work.

  • Notebooks: Copy editors need notebooks to write down important notes. It could be some of the most common mistakes they find in written materials or any good ideas from the materials.
  • Copyediting newsletter: A newsletter helps a copy editor to know the changes that are happening in the copy editing industry. The newsletter will help them keep up with the day to day updates about copy editing.
  • Style guides: Style guides are essential for copy editors to know how to correctly format text and what grammar to correct.

Other online tools that are important in copy editing include:

  • Grammarly: This tool checks for any grammar mistakes.  The tool points out the errors and gives suggestions and explanations for the errors.
  • ProWritingAid: The tool shows areas where certain words have been overused, the length of sentences in a paragraph and repeated words or phrases.
  • editMinion: The tool points out areas where the writer has used passive phrases and wrongly placed adverbs.
  • SmartEdit: This tool is very useful to a copy editor since it highlights spelling mistakes, repeated phrases, and adverbs.

 

Common Errrors Identified by Copy Editors

When going through a story, there are common things that might seem obvious can but actually, be problematic.

  • Always check the spelling of well-known people’s names if they are used in the story. Some of these people have names that are hard to write and it is, therefore, good to double check the spelling just to be sure the word is correctly spelled.
  • In cases where a writer talks about a recent event that occurred whether it is a crime or any other major occurrence, always refer to earlier stories to see if the facts match. In case the facts do not match to those on another story; check other publications to see which facts are consistent.
  • As a copywriter, you may be unfamiliar with some of the issues tackled in a story. Do not assume them. Check related publications to bring you up to speed with the issues.
  • If the writer has used a quote, confirm from the writer of the quote to make sure that it is quoted as it appears.
  • In some stories, writers may refer to someone as ‘the late’. As a copy editor, it is your duty to check whether the person is actually dead. Such a mistake can lead to a lawsuit.

What to Look out for When Hiring a Copy Editor

Look for an experienced person in the field of copywriting. The number of years a person has worked may determine how good the person is at the job. An experienced copy editor will also perform the task with ease and efficiently.

  1. A person who pays attention to details. In copy editing some of the grammar mistakes cannot easily be identified is a person is not keen and attentive during copy editing.
  2. A curious person. Curiosity with the surrounding is a plus since the person will know what is going on within their surrounding and therefore when editing a copy, everything does not seem new to them.
  1. Have a basic training in copyediting. As an organization, you should look for a person who has some training in grammar, scripting and news writing skills.
  1. Passionate about what they do. A person may have all the necessary qualifications in a job but lack passion for the job. Meaning they do not enjoy what they do. Such a person may not perform the assigned task to the satisfaction or may even find it hard to meet deadlines.
  • If you want to become a good copy editor, you should be a reader.
  • Reading ensures that you are up to date with what is happening and it, therefore, becomes easy to point out mistakes in a copy.
  • Be a critical thinker. This is a person who can recognize good writing and are able to improve a bad copy instead of doing away with the whole copy.

 

Copy editors are important in any organization since they help you avoid the shame of publishing a copy that is full of grammatical errors. Copy editors help you improve the quality of content in your publication.

7 Days to Better Writing – Day 6: Seek Constructive Criticism

The best way to get better at writing is to seek criticism from peers and mentors who are invested in your journey to becoming a better writer. No one gets better without feedback, and writing is no exception. When I say to seek criticism, that does not necessarily mean asking someone to proofread your writing. Rather, have your coach evaluate your entire writing and suggest ways to improve.

What is constructive criticism?

Constructive criticism is feedback you receive from someone else about your writing. Feedback can focus on any number of things related to your writing, including: tone/mood, grammar, vocabulary, flow, captivating intros, etc. A solid mentor, which we’ll discuss in the next section, will be able to provide you with feedback on all of these areas and help you identify the areas where you need to get better.

 

Where can you seek constructive criticism?

While you can always seek relatives or friends as writing coaches, the Internet has also opened up a whole host of other resources. From Subreddits about writing to online proofreading tools, you have access to writers and editors from around the world.

Family and Friends

Family and friends will probably be the most convenient sources who can provide feedback on your writing. While they may not be professional writers or editors, they can provide you with a general compass for your writing. Be wary of feedback from friends and family though, as it may not be as useful as criticism from strangers since people you know may hide your weaknesses so as to not offend you.

Online Forums

The Internet is filled with forums that allow you to interact with writers from the around the world. The most useful website for writing feedback is the Subreddit /writing where hundreds of thousands of writers hang out. You can easily submit your writing to this site and have lots of comments within minutes. Other great online forums include Critique Circle and WeBook.

Mentor

There is no single place to find a writing mentor, but having one is a must in order to get better at writing. You can try searching forums online, reaching out to people in your local community, or asking friends and family if they have any recommendations. Even try reaching out to some of your favorite authors. They were once in your shoes and my bet is at least one who you reach out to will be willing to at least have a conversation with you about how to get better at writing.

The best mentors will be able to give you unbiased feedback about your writing and ideally be very strong writers themselves. Don’t settle for a mediocre mentor or you will only produce mediocre writing.

Bots

While not able to provide thematic feedback, the many automated bots online these days make proofreading and copyediting a breeze. Tools such as Ginger Software and Grammarly will instantly evaluate your writing and show where you need to change things or how you can improve.

 

When you seek constructive criticism for your writing you want to make sure that you are getting the best advice. If one of these options, say a family member, is not working out, try a different method. It’s important that you have a mentor who can stick with you as you continue on your journey to becoming a better writer.

 

For more from our 7 Days to Better Writing series:

7 Days to Better Writing – Day 5: Define Your Audience

It is important that you define your audience for writing. Understanding who you are writing for will determine the tone of your writing. Knowing who you are writing for will allow you to better captivate your audience.

Determine Who Will Read Your Writing

The first step that you need to take to define your audience is to determine who will read your writing. You will need to figure out if the audience that you are writing for is primarily technical, business, or leisurely.  You will then need to look at the demographics within those groups to ensure that you are able to write in a manner that will grab their attention.

 

Who is Your Primary Audience?

To determine your primary audience, you need to think about who is going to be reading your work. There are three main audiences that you will need to consider:

  • Business
  • Technical
  • Leisure

Once you have determined which category your writing falls into, you will need to determine the demographics of the category that you are trying to reach. Each category will need to be broken down further to refine your audience.

Business

If your writing will be business-focused, you need to make sure that you are familiar with the business for which you will be writing. When you are writing for business there are a couple of questions that you will want to ask yourself:

  • What type of business am I writing for?
  • Is my primary audience male or female?
  • What is the average age of people in this type of business?
  • Am I teaching or informing?

Once you have answered these questions, you should have a general idea as to what style of writing you want to use. Each of these questions will help you narrow done the time and style that you want to use when you are writing.

Technical

Technical writing is a whole other beast. Often your audience will have an expertise in a certain area and you need to ensure that your writing takes advantage of that, providing more in-depth topics when writing about a known subject matter or higher-level overviews when the audience is not as familiar with the topic. Here are a few questions you will want to ask yourself before you write:

  • What level of education does my target audience have?
  • Am I explaining myself in a way that makes sense?
  • How is the reader going to use this material?
  • What age group is my target audience?

These questions will help you determine the level of writing you will need to use. By using these guidelines, technical folks will be more inclined to consume your writing.

Leisure

There are a number of questions that you need to ask when you are writing for leisure. There are a number of different genres that you have to consider as well as a number of different sub-genres that you should be familiar with.  We list only a few of the questions you should be asking if you choose to write for a leisurely audience:

  • What genre are you writing?
  • What age group are you writing for?
  • Are you writing for men or women?
  • Is the intent to entertain or inform?

These questions are only a guideline to help you set the tone of your writing. If you intend to write for this audience, make sure you truly understand their needs as a slight misstep on this front could result in nobody reading your writing.

Remember to Define Your Audience for Writing

Keeping these simple things in mind will allow you to define your audience for writing. Visualize this audience as you begin to write and your tone will naturally come. Again, if you are unsure about who your audience is, you can simply ask these questions:

  • Are you writing for business, technical, or leisure?
  • What age group are you writing for?
  • Are your readers going to understand what you are trying to say?
  • Are you writing for men, women, or both?

Understanding these key points will allow you to become a great writer with whom readers eagerly engage. Misunderstanding who your audience is, on the other hand, can lead to you wasting your time writing something no one will read.

 

For more from our 7 Days to Better Writing series:

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