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A new wife and a new job

Two pieces of exciting news ’round these parts:

  • I got married a few weeks ago and then had a fantastic honeymoon in Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris (hence the dearth of posts recently).
  • I am now a correspondent for Gridskipper, “the decadent urban travel guide; scouring the globe for chic hotels, hot restaurants, sweet nightlife, and pretty people.” It’s published by Gawker Media (the same folks who bring you Wonkette, Lifehacker, and a slew of other popular blogs). I just submitted my first post (on DC’s independent coffee shops). It should be online in the next few days.

Web roundup: AP style, writer’s resources, word processors, and hyphens

Here’s another review of some writing-related links.

  • The 2007 Associated Press Stylebook: This year the AP released its first update to its stylebook since 2004. With the constant influx of technology terms into our lexicon, the new AP Stylebook is a must for writers and editors. While it’s been a while since I was a newspaper reporter and a lot of my clients don’t use AP style, it is a good reference nevertheless.
  • Internet Resources: Writing links & writers links for writers: This page lists more than 200 online writing-related resources. (I’m all for search engine optimization, but this page’s title, however, is a little ridiculous. I’m sure most of those writing resources would advise against such a title.) (Via Lifehacker)
  • Word Processor Review: A lot of people are hemmed into their choice of word processor—it has to be Microsoft Word. If your fortunate enough not to be one of them, this site lists other options. Unfortunately as all of my clients use Word, I have no choice but to do so as well. Given my druthers, however, I’d give Apple’s Pages (part of it’s iWork suite) a shot.
  • Copy-Editing Corner: A hyphen too many per diem: Mike Billings weighs in on when—and when not—to use a hyphen.

Grammar Girl popular, copy editor angry, and clichés bad

Here’s a roundup of some grammar-related links.

  • Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing—Possibly the most amazing story I’ve encountered: An editor named Mignon Fogarty created a podcast about grammar and, as CNN describes in ‘Grammar Girl’ a quick and dirty success, it’s one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes. Who knew the masses wanted to learn about semicolons? (Obviously, I wish I had that foresight.) I’m curious as to how Fogarty promoted her podcast though; if she tires of editing, she probably could have a career in marketing. (Via Digg.)
  • City Paper Copy Editor Angry, Angry, Angry—DCist details a disgruntled copy editor’s diatribe directed at his superiors’ demand that he use a serial comma (the comma before “and” in a list of three or more items). I disagree with Andrew Beaujon and the Associated Press about not using the serial comma. Punctuation’s purpose is to clarify. The serial comma does just that.
  • Cliché Finder—I do agree with the Associated Press, however, about clichés; they stink worse than Limburger. To look for clichés in your writing, cut and paste your text into this website and it will highlight phrases that the Associated Press deems hackneyed. (Via Lifehacker.)

Freelancing, Word styles, Bill Clinton, and Russia: Articles worth reading

Here are some good reads on an assortment of topics:

  • Freelancing tips from an illustrator. It’s obvious that Megan Jeffrey has 17 years of experience freelancing; there’s not a single suggestion with which I’d disagree (link via Lifehacker).
  • Macworld: Save time with Word’s styles. One of the biggest ways to make publishing a document more efficient is to get everyone in an organization using Word’s styles. It makes an editor’s job easier, as he or she won’t have to waste time reformatting a document and instead can focus on improving the text.
  • The New Yorker: “The Wanderer”—The ex-presidency of Bill Clinton. This article in the September 18, 2006 issue isn’t available online, but it’s worth picking up at the newsstand. David Remnick’s profile of President Clinton is fascinating and examines his work fighting HIV/AIDS.
  • The Economist: Russian health and demography—A sickness of the soul. It’s hard to think of a country that put the first man in space as having problems usually reserved for developing nations in Africa and Asia, but that’s what former superpower Russia is facing.

Behold the renovated

While I use the Oxford American Dictionary that was bundled with my Apple iBook as my main dictionary, yesterday I went to seeking further clarification and was thrilled to see that the site has new interface. The old one looked like a web page circa 1998.

And, according to Lifehacker, now has a faster response time too.

The pros and cons of freelancing and what’s needed to transition from corporate life

Lifehacker, a productivity blog that I’ve linked to in other entries, had a good post the other day about working for yourself: Technophilia: From cubicle to couch.

For someone who’s just transitioning from working for a company to freelancing, the author has some good insight into preparing to work for yourself (hoard cash), the advantages of freelancing (flexibility), and the disadvantages (work is never done).

Avoid typos and grammatical mistakes by listening to your writing

When reading something I wrote, sometimes I see what I meant to write—not what I did write. My ears aren’t as easily fooled as my eyes, however. So when reviewing what I wrote, I have my iacook read it back to me. Having the computer speak it, instead of reading it aloud myself, allows me to focus on the content.

To have your material read back to you on a Mac, highlight the text, go to the application’s menu on the toolbar and select Services > Speech > Start Speaking Text. Then read along as the computer dictates what you wrote.

This step helps you pick up missing words that you’d normally add in your mind when reading, as well as when you misspell a word, but in doing so, correctly spell a different word (something spell check doesn’t catch).

(And welcome to the Lifehacker readers who clicked through that site’s post mentioning this entry.)