I have a few rules that I live by. But because that sounds boring, I like to call them laws. (I’m actually stealing this from my uncle who is literally a rocket scientist and likes to talk about [my last name]’s first, second, and third laws.)
The previous paragraph probably says a lot about my character for better or worse.
My laws used to be practical and along the lines of: leave the house every day, close your mouth when bicycling through a mud puddle, and check the dog bag for holes before use.
However, over the past ten years or so I have been in put in positions where I mold young minds. (Mwah hah hah ha!) So I determine laws for my students and tutees to follow.
My first law of academic (or any) writing is know thyself, by which I mean (in part) learn your strengths and weaknesses, and approach and edit your writing accordingly. My second law of academic writing is cite or fail. And so on.
I am editing over what for much of the biscuitless wastelands of the north is a hot weekend. So I have a few additional laws to share.
The first law of hot weather living is to drink a lot of water and move little. Put a fan in your windows at night and close windows and/or shades during the day. Do not, under any circumstances, use the oven. Your little northern dwellings are made to hold heat. Do not give them extra heat to hold.
That takes care of the weather portion of this rambling procrastinatory blog post. Now for the editing:
The first law is to back up every computer file that is important to you to something that IS NOT YOUR COMPUTER in case your computer decides not to wake up one morning without the slightest warning. I assure you that this law is in no way related to happenings of this week and my subsequent misery and multiple trips to Le Apple Store.
The second law is never ever do anything that makes the text on your page creep beyond the industry-standard 1″ margins on either side. This law is directly aimed at my author, who otherwise writes nice nonirritating prose.
What are some of your laws for editing, writing, or life?