What nagging my kids has taught me about editing...
I have always taken the approach that even the youngest baby can understand so it’s worth explaining things to them.
I am just bending your legs around your ears because this nappy changing business is all new to me and I don’t really know what I am doing
Ok, fair enough, I deserve that pee in the face, will try harder next time.
This means of course that sometimes I am left standing by myself explaining the ins and outs of unacceptable behaviour long after the kids have run off and its only the dog (ah the old faithful) left listening.
So….I started thinking I need some good one word ‘commands’ that will work just as effectively and then I can explain things properly later.
What does this have to do with thesis editing you are probably wondering? Well, I will get to that in a moment…(I did allude to the fact that I sometimes take a while to get to the point).
Firstly an example…I was trying to get the kids to realise that if they get ready for the day they can play outside to their hearts’ content and I will only bug them again when it’s time to literally get into the car.
This involves (and it’s really not too taxing)
1) Brush teeth
2) Wash face
3) Brush hair
4) Check clothes, ears, eyebrows, hair, shoes and back are clean (because it is amazing where breakfast ends up)
5) Get bag ready (even a two year old can do this)
We normally get stuck on step one and, as they run out of the front door, I am left shouting something like this:
Come here and brush your teeth and then you can wash your face and I can brush your hair for you and then we need to make sure your clothes are clean and check your ears, eyebrows and back for solidifying porridge…geez I wonder if maybe I should look on Pintrest for some ideas for ‘breakfast in a muffin’ might be less messy – HEY, where ARE you kids???
My ‘go-to-approach’ clearly wasn’t working and like all good scientists I decided I needed to test the variables. To cut a long experiment short (let’s just go to the discussion section shall we?) I ended up with this:
Use ONE word and ONE word only.
These words work great:
*QUICK (I generally try to avoid quick and hurry but for occasions like melting ice-creams or ‘your brother is about to punch you in the head’ it can be appropriate)
*PARDON? (you can vary this with a throat clearing noise if you can do it loud enough or excuse me? if you can get it out quickly…I normally drag the ex-cuuuuuuuuuuu-se part out for too long and don’t forget to make it like a question otherwise I get back “that’s ok”).
Back to thesis editing…my best tip?
Use ONE word and ONE WORD only.
When editing a really large document, such as a thesis, it is sometimes easy to get caught up on the details.This is especially true when you are nearing the final draft and you want to view the document as a whole.
This is not always the easiest thing to do when you have so many ideas, pages, chapters and appendices etc to incorporate.
So a handy little tip is to create a list of your own ‘commands’. I find these words useful when trying to handle a massive document and view it as a whole:
*HUH? Or EXPLAIN?
You get the idea…instead of getting caught up writing yourself notes like ‘hard to understand maybe consider changing’ just write ‘HUH?’ and move on. It helps with your flow and ability to see the document as a whole if you don’t stop too long in one spot.
You maybe already do this…maybe everyone already does this and I was too busy lecturing the dog to pick this up at ‘Editing 101.’
So back to the kids: On day one they stopped in their tracks when I yelled
But…it was a short lived victory so I had to keep changing the words (not something I would recommend when editing though!) but there is always my ultimate go –to word. My ‘never-fails-never-lets-me-down’ word.
I don’t even need to say “anyone want…”
See the power of one word and one word only?