How To Fuck Up Your Editing Project Without Even Trying

I have done all of these things. This is why you do two passes in any copyediting project.

1. Press Ctrl + V instead of Ctrl + C.

I had to check to see if methethyldioxide (yes, I made that up, no that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist) was a real word. I cut and paste words into google a hundred times a day. Keyboard shortcuts make my job go ten times faster. But never go so fast that you hit paste when you mean to copy, because then you have a sentence that reads “The researchers put 4 mL of dimethethylrosannadanna solution into the 96-well plate” rather than “The researchers put 4 mL of tricrystalmethbananasplit solution into the 96-well plate.” And don’t tell me (except you, Dr. B) that you have enough education to catch that error.

2. Don’t completely delete the original text when you add something.

You’re going to look pretty stupid when your author query reads: “AU: OK to change ‘monkey-duck pants’ to ‘monkey pants’?” but the text says “monkey- du pants.” I often edit in “Show Final” in track changes, otherwise I can’t tell if I’m adding extra spaces, or forgetting to delete the duck.

3. Leave your computer unattended.

Someone you promised in front of all your friends to love for the rest of your natural life might add “Indy Clause is a pretty pretty princess” in the text of your article on the effect of beta-superman on deep-vein thrombosis. Try explaining that to the tech editors.

How easy is it to fuck up your work life?

This post is dedicated to reader B who has become Dr. B this week. Huzzah!

7 responses to “How To Fuck Up Your Editing Project Without Even Trying

    • That brings up a few questions. Why do you work on the biosciences if you feel that way about mice? Also, did you want to be fired?

      There’s a not-so-apocryphal story about a former employee at my former place of employ who was paid to edit a book, and when the tech editor opened up the document, no changes had been made.

  1. The first two, I’ve done. I’ve even done the second one and saved the doc before I realized what I’d done.

    The third one is not a problem, as I have put the fear of worse than death into the hearts of anyone who touches my computer without permission; I also use passwords and a short unattended timeout countdown. (the latter also keeps my fingers moving).

    Plus, no one would ever mistake me for a pretty, pretty princess . . but that’s another issue.

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